It is remarkable how well the Los Angeles Kings have done so far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With a 9-1 overall record in the postseason and 6-0 on the road, not only are the Kings making history, but they are doing it in style. The Kings beat the #3 seeded Phoenix Coyotes in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final, with another complete team effort. Despite a couple fluke plays and lucky bounces, the Kings continued their dominance of the postseason with their 4-2 victory on Sunday. Dustin Brown scored the game winning goal and continues to lead his team to victory. With two goals from depth forward Dwight King, and a goal from elite center-man Anze Kopitar, the Kings would not be denied. Although it was not the best playoff game in Jonathan Quick‘s career, he still made timely and important saves down the stretch to keep the Kings ahead.
In the first period, the Kings came out flying. All four lines were pressuring the defenseman of the Coyotes and the Kings broke through with a beautiful backhand shot from Anze Kopitar, who has caught fire in the past 4 games, tallying 7 points. Phoenix then got a lucky break when a 98 foot slap shot from the redline by Derek Morris beat Quick on his blocker side. The shot seemed to curve in the air and deflected off of Quick’s pad and into the net. In the second period on a 2 on 1 breakout for the Kings, Mike Richards shot the puck off of the leg pad of Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, and the Kings Dwight King was there to put in the rebound; his second career playoff goal. The Coyotes answered after some miscommunication between Quick and Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, allowed the Coyotes forecheck to take over the puck and with a nifty pass and shot by Mikkel Boedker, tie the game at 2. The Kings had controlled play in the first 40 minutes, but found themselves even after two periods. It didn’t take long for Dustin Brown to take over the game. Just 2:11 into the third period, Brown took a beautiful breakout pass from Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, and shot the puck past Smith to give the Kings a 3-2 lead. That was Brown’s 8th point in the last 4 games. Dwight King would then seal the victory for the Kings with an empty net goal, his second of the game and third of the playoffs. It was the first time in 30 years that a Kings rookie scored two goals in one playoff game. The Coyotes will play host again on Tuesday night where they will hope to salvage a split at home and where the Kings will look to take their third straight 2-0 series lead headed back home. Also, if the Kings win on Tuesday, they will tie the record of most consecutive playoff road wins by a team, which was last done in 2010 by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
3 Stars of the Game:
1. Dustin Brown 1 goal, 1 assist, 7 shots on goal, +2 rating
2. Dwight King 2 goals, 2 shots on goal, 9:58 time on the ice
3. Mike Smith 44 saves on 47 shots, .936 save%