LOS ANGELES — After being throttled by the Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals Monday night, the Blackhawks were quite interested in talking about what happened just over a year ago.

It was then the Hawks reeled off three consecutive victories to rally from the brink of elimination against the Red Wings in the second round of the playoffs.

The defending Stanley Cup champions are invoking that fond memory because they find themselves in a similar predicament after being hammered 5-2 by the Kings at the Staples Center. Los Angeles has surged to a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series that will continue with Game 5 on Wednesday night at the United Center.

The Kings dominated in nearly all facets of the game — five-on-five, special teams, faceoffs and blocked shots — to put the Hawks' bid for consecutive Cups in serious jeopardy.

"We're still alive in this series — no time to feel sorry for ourselves," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "Teams have come back from this situation — even this group. That belief and that confidence have to be there. We just have to go do it. It's not just one guy, it's not two guys, it's got to be everybody."

A few stalls over in the dressing room, Patrick Kane was picking up the mantra.

"We were in the same position last year," Kane said. "You can look back at that and say, 'We came out and were successful so why can't we do it again?' It's tough with the position we're in right now, but at the same time we still feel good about our team in here and we all know we've done it before. You have to have that confidence of trying to win the next game and see what happens."

The Hawks would like to erase the memory of what happened Monday as the Kings jumped on them early and often to race to 4-0 lead that effectively put the game away with half of it remaining.

Jake Muzzin and Drew Doughty each had a goal and an assist, Marian Gaborik, Dustin Brown and Tanner Pearson also scored and Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar each added two assists to provide plenty of offensive support for goaltender Jonathan Quick.

The Kings consistently got behind the Hawks defense to set up shop in front of Corey Crawford and the goalie was unable to see — or stop — the onslaught. Bryan Bickell and Brandon Saad had goals for the Hawks, but it wasn't even close to enough.

The Hawks misfired on all three of their power-play opportunities while the Kings converted twice with a man advantage. That left the Hawks searching for answers and facing three must-wins against a red-hot Kings team that is loaded with talent and confidence.

"Here we are," Toews said. "We've got to give it everything and nothing less. Credit that team, they're a good team, but we know we've got more. We know that there's something else we can bring to the table. We've just got to do some little things here and there to make ourselves feel good and get that confidence, get that swagger back to our game."

To get to this series, the Kings had to rally from the brink of elimination in the first round against the Sharks and again in the second against the Ducks, so they are taking nothing for granted.

"It's nice to know that we only have one game left (to win), but we have to come prepared," Pearson said. "It's going to be a battle. It's do-or-die for them. We've been in that position before ourselves, so we know what it takes."

ckuc@tribune.com

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