LOS ANGELES -- One year removed from a quick and painful Western Conference Final loss, the Los Angeles Kings bear no resemblance to the team that was dispatched in five games by the Chicago Blackhawks.

With strong performances from rookies and a scoring streak by a savvy veteran, the Kings find themselves halfway to a berth in the Stanley Cup Final.

Winger Jeff Carter had a goal and two assists and defenseman Drew Doughty had a goal and an assist to lead the Kings past the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.

The victory gave Los Angeles a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series that continues with Game 4 on Monday at the Staples Center.

Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 24 Chicago shots.

Operating at near-full health and with the addition of rookie wingers Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, the Kings continue to give the Chicago defense matchup problems.

Though Chicago center Jonathan Toews has played better than the Kings' top center, Anze Kopitar, the Blackhawks have not found a way to defense Carter and his rookie linemates. Chicago veteran center Michal Handzus has been ineffective and coach Joel Quenneville moved Andrew Shaw to second-line center in the hopes of limiting the line's scoring opportunities.

"Getting pucks deep and creating traffic is why we're successful," Toffoli said. "I'm having fun; this is incredible. The past three games have been my best of the playoffs."

Trailing 2-1 entering the second period, the Kings took the lead after 40 minutes on two goals from the Carter line.

Los Angeles evened the score on Carter's eighth goal of the playoffs at 8:08 of the second period. He took a feed from Pearson inside of Handzus and tapped home a shot from 10 feet.

Toffoli gave the Kings their first lead of the game with his sixth goal of the postseason at 14:19 of the second period. Toffoli took a pass from Carter and sped past the Chicago defense to beat Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford with a wrist shot. Defenseman Willie Mitchell was credited with the secondary assist.

Doughty added an insurance goal at 11:57 of the third period on a slap shot from inside the Chicago blue line as a penalty was expiring to Chicago defenseman Michal Rosival.

Blackhawks center Patrick Sharp added a goal at 19:57 of the third period to finish the scoring.

The unlikely pairing of Carter and the rookies came out of necessity as the Kings faced a 0-3 deficit in the first round against the San Jose Sharks. Carter, a natural right wing, was placed in the middle, and as they continue to play together, their production increases. Carter has 10 points in his last four games and been the driving force.

"Both those kids are talented and tough," Carter said. "They are just dragging me along."

The Blackhawks are no strangers to adversity and expressed more disappointment than worry as they dropped their second game in a row.

"We played well, but we didn't get the result we wanted tonight," Toews said. "We know we can keep pushing it to the next level and that's what it's going to take to beat them."

Crawford agreed with Toews' assessment and thinks his team can leave Los Angeles with a victory in Game 4.

"We had a good start and came out flying," Crawford said. "That was a close game and tonight their power play was the difference."

Chicago broke on top with an unassisted short-handed goal by Toews at 5:26 of the first period. Toews stole the puck from Los Angeles winger Justin Williams at Chicago blue line and beat Quick with a perfectly placed wrist shot from 30 feet for his seventh goal of the postseason.