NHL: Blackhawks beat Kings to open conference finals

Washington: Defending National Hockey League champion Chicago defeated Los Angeles 3-1 Sunday in the opening game of their Western Conference final playoff series.

The Kings, who lost to Chicago in last year`s conference final, can level the best-of-seven series with a victory in game two on Wednesday in Chicago.

The winner will face either Montreal or the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup final.

It was the seventh consecutive home playoff victory for the Blackhawks, the first time they have had so long a streak in a single season.

Brandon Saad opened the scoring for the Blackhawks with 5:14 remaining in the first period, tipping in a power-play goal.

The Kings equalized 4:35 into the second period on a tip-in goal from Tyler Toffoli.

But Chicago answered 7:19 later when Duncan Keith`s slapshot from the point deflected off a defender to give the hosts the lead once again.

And Jonathan Toews netted his sixth goal of the playoffs with 3:50 remaining in the third period to seal Chicago`s triumph.

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