The Los Angeles Kings took control of the Western Conference Final with a dominant win against Chicago.
3 things to know
The Kings look like its 2012 all over again
When the Kings won the Stanley Cup two years ago, they didn't just walk through the Western Conference. They bulldozed the competition, storming from the eighth seed all the way to the Cup Final. This year's squad is beginning to resemble that championship team. When the Kings fell behind to Chicago in the first, they fired right back forty seconds later. Once Tyler Toffoli gave L.A. a lead in the second period, the Kings shut down the Blackhawks with a brutal forecheck. The Kings have found their groove again, and Chicago will have to dig deep to knock them out of it.
Chicago's depth (or lack thereof) at center hurts
It's becoming more and more apparent with each passing game that Michal Handzus just isn't cutting it as the 'Hawks second line center. Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp have been virtually silent on his wings this series, and the 26-year-old has just two points in 15 playoff games this season. Chicago has the talent to roll out two dangerous scoring lines, but instead Jonathan Toews' line has done most of the heavy-lifting this spring. Scoring depth problems are heightened when you play the suffocating Kings' forecheck, and Handzus' offensive inabilities are part of what's holding Chicago back.
Tyler Toffoli is a game-changer for L.A.
Toffoli's emergence as a dangerous playmaker is of the many pleasant surprises this season for the Kings. Now he's making his presence felt in the playoffs in a big way. Toffoli is tied for the rookie lead in playoff points and now has goals in all three Western Conference Final games, and they all came at important moments for his club. His speed, vision and skill are assets the Kings haven't had in abundance the last few years, even when they won the Cup in 2012. Toffoli is adding another facet to the Kings' game that makes them even more dangerous than before, and it's paying off in spades right now.