LOS ANGELES — A lot of things would have been predicted when the struggling Chicago Blackhawks found themselves down by two goals in the third period against the Los Angeles Kings.
Just about everything, but what did happen.
The Blackhawks, who had lost seven consecutive road games and 11 of their last 13 overall, rallied with four third-periods goals to stun the Kings 5-3 on Saturday.
Jonathan Toews broke a tie on a power-play goal with 1:58 left and a Blackhawks team out of the playoff race shocked a Kings team that had won three straight.
“It’s right in front of us that we can be the spoilers,” Toews said. “Play loose, play smart and work hard the way we did tonight. We can put pressure on teams like them and make them make mistakes.”
Chicago tied it with 5:36 to go when Los Angeles’ Derek Forbort failed to clear the puck in front of the net, instead sending it right to Vinnie Hinostroza for a shot past goalie past Jonathan Quick.
Then with Los Angeles’ Tanner Pearson off for hooking, Toews beat Quick for his 17th of the season.
Patrick Kane added an empty-net goal for Chicago, Jordan Oesterle and Artem Anisimov also scored, and Anton Forsberg made 29 saves.
The Kings scored all their goals in the second period, Pearson, Alec Martinez and Alex Iafallo all finding the net. Quick stopped 20 shots.
The Kings were called for four penalties in the third, including a double penalty on Drew Doughty for hooking and then unsportsmanlike conduct.
“It’s pretty obvious, right?” Kings coach John Stevens said. “Let’s not deny the elephant in the room. Totally undisciplined play today. We let them back in the hockey game. It’s totally unacceptable.
“You’re part of a team and everything should have the best interest of the hockey team. We put ourselves in an undisciplined situation in the third period and it ended up costing us.”
The Blackhawks pulled within one on the 4-minute power play in third period, when Anisimov fired in his 19th goal off a rebound of a Toews’ shot. It was his second goal in as many games for Anisimov.
“He’s always in the middle of the ice and that’s where goalies have the toughest time trying to stop it,” said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. “It’s a high quality chance. It’s not easy to get there, and he gets rewarded.”
The Kings are just one point ahead of the rival Anaheim Ducks for the third playoff spot in the West. The Ducks host the Blackhawks on Sunday.
“It definitely doesn’t hurt your confidence when you can find ways to win games coming from behind on the road against a team like them,” Toews said. “Hopefully it’s the type of thing we can keep going with that same kind of effort.”
For a struggling, injury-riddled Blackhawks team, it was a much needed victory.
“The disappointing thing these last few months is we know we’re underachieving and we know we’re not scratching the surface as far as our potential goes,” Toews said.
“This was huge,” Hinostroza said. “That’s a great team over there, and says a lot about our team in here to go down like that and come back. It feels really good.”