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Kings’ second line wreaking havoc on Blackhawks

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Updated: May 25, 2014 11:42PM



EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — The Blackhawks and Kings feature two of the best No. 1 lines in hockey, and both coaches have been content to let them duke it out on the ice against each other.

Meanwhile, it’s the Kings’ second line that has been doing all the damage.

The line of veteran Jeff Carter centering 22-year-old Tyler Toffoli and 21-year-old Tanner Pearson — deemed “That 70s Line” because of their uniform numbers — has taken over the Western Conference final. Over the last four periods, Carter has four goals and three assists, Toffoli has two goals and Pearson has three primary assists.

“We’re definitely rolling pretty good, but we can’t take our foot off the gas pedal,” Pearson said.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter isn’t playing the matchup game even though he has the last change as the home team. But the line was most effective when matched up with the Hawks’ second line of Patrick Sharp, Michal Handzus and Patrick Kane.

“They’ve got great speed; they’ve got great skill; they’re strong on the puck,” Handzus said. “[We need to be] stronger on the puck and play every second. Those little details — they’re doing a better job than us.”

Sharp spent a few seasons playing with Carter in the Flyers organization, so he’s not surprised by his monster performances.

“He’s a great centerman,” Sharp said. “He’s healthy right now; he’s skating great; he’s full of confidence.”

PP shakeup

The Hawks held a brief practice Sunday that focused almost exclusively on special teams. The Kings have scored three power-play goals (plus another just two seconds after a Hawks penalty expired) in the last two games. And on the power play, the Hawks fell to 1-for-21 on the road with their 0-for-4 effort in Game 3.

Coach Joel Quenneville swapped his point men. Brent Seabrook joined Duncan Keith on the top power-play unit, and Sharp moved down with Nick Leddy on the second unit.

“I liked today’s practice,” Quenneville said. “The power play, the way we’re moving it around, it had a good buzz out there, a little pace to it. We’re coming off a tough night. Let’s get excited about being out there and turning it around [Monday].”

Sharp shooter

Sharp’s deflection goal off a Leddy shot with 4.2 seconds left in Game 3 didn’t affect the outcome, but it gave the struggling winger a psychological boost. It was only his third goal of the postseason.

Sharp is the only Hawk to have a goal in all 16 playoff series since 2009. (Carter has scored in 18 straight series.)

“It’s always nice to score, [though] it’s obviously better to score in a win,” he said.

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com

Twitter: @marklazerus



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