|LAK||1||1||2||(0 - 0)||4|
|PHX||1||1||0||(null - null)||2|
The Kings came out strong with a relentless forecheck that continued throughout the game. They fired 48 shots on net and got goals from Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and two from Dwight King along with 25 saves from goalie Jonathan Quick to beat the Coyotes in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, 4-2, at Jobing.com Arena on Sunday night.
Los Angeles is 9-1 in the playoffs and has won six games in a row on the road. The Kings will go for No. 7 in Game 2 Tuesday.
"It was really important we had a good start," Kings Head Coach Darryl Sutter said. "It wasn't so much scoring or any of that stuff. Just make sure we match their start. We were able to overcome a rare bad goal against us, have the resiliency to stay with it."
The Kings did have to rebound after Quick was beat on a 98-foot slap shot by Derek Morris 13:26 into the first period. Morris wound up and fired from directly in front of the red line and the puck skimmed off the ice and sailed over Quick's outstretched right pad to tie the score at 1-1.
Los Angeles had a 17-4 advantage in shots on goal after 20 minutes, but the game was locked in a tie.
"It skipped off the ice, took a weird hop, and nothing you can do about it," Quick said. "You just reset and get ready for the next shot, that's all it is."
Quick's teammates knew it was a tough one for their goalie to give up, but it only made them want to play that much harder for him.
"I think we just felt we have to get a couple for 'Quickie,'" Kopitar said. "He was bailing us out all season and a few times in the playoffs, too. I don't think anybody was concerned or worried about it; we just kind of looked at each other and said maybe we should win this one for him."
They did, thanks to their captain. Brown gave the Kings their 3-2 lead with 17:49 left in the third period (see KEY MOMENT below).
Sutter said Brown has become a playoff hockey player in this postseason. He also had an assist on Kopitar's goal 3:53 into the first period and has 13 points in the playoffs.
The Kings dominated most of the night with a constant, aggressive forecheck that had the Coyotes hemmed in their own zone. They also continued to play with perfection on the penalty kill, which was 5-for-5 and allowed only four shots on goal. Los Angeles has killed off 24 straight power plays dating to Game 5 against Vancouver.
"We weren't close in that game," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "We got beat in every facet of the game. I felt our execution was so poor. The execution and will to get things done is going to have to improve greatly if we're going to have a chance in this series."
|Photo by Getty Images.|
About the only player Tippett couldn't be angry with was Smith, who never let the Kings take a two-goal lead before King's empty-net goal with 48 seconds left. He made 44 saves.
The Kings beat Smith on a backhanded shot by Kopitar from the high slot in the first period, a King shot off a rebound created on a 2-on-1 rush with Mike Richards in the second, and on Brown's wrist shot from the right circle off a semi-breakaway in the third.
Despite getting outshot 34-18 through two periods, the Coyotes still managed to head into the dressing room tied 2-2 after 40 minutes. Morris' blast from the red line beat Quick in the first period and Mikkel Boedker cashed in on his fourth goal of the playoffs with 1:55 left in the second period as the Coyotes came back from a pair of one-goal deficits in each period.
Los Angeles, though, was relentless again in the third and got some big saves from Quick late to preserve the one-goal lead before King's empty-netter.
"They are a good team, but we have to be better, get more traffic on their goalie and play to a standard that we're capable of reaching and we weren't there tonight," Boedker said. "The shot totals have to be more even and the game has to be more even."
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
|Anze Kopitar (4) ASST: Dustin Brown (6), Drew Doughty (6)|
1 - 0 LAK
|Derek Morris (2) ASST: Daymond Langkow (6)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Dwight King (2) ASST: Mike Richards (6), Trevor Lewis (2)|
2 - 1 LAK
|Mikkel Boedker (4) ASST: Shane Doan (4), Derek Morris (3)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Dustin Brown (7) ASST: Slava Voynov (1), Justin Williams (6)|
3 - 2 LAK
|EN - Dwight King (3) ASST: Trevor Lewis (3), Jarret Stoll (1)|
4 - 2 LAK
|Mike Smith Roughing against Justin Williams|
|Matt Greene Hi-sticking against Martin Hanzal|
|Dustin Brown Interference against Michal Rozsival|
|Derek Morris Hooking against Dustin Penner|
|Anze Kopitar Interference on goalkeeper against Mike Smith|
|Willie Mitchell Interference against Shane Doan|
|Martin Hanzal Slashing against Trevor Lewis|
|Justin Williams Hooking against Rostislav Klesla|
|Oliver Ekman-Larsson Interference against Mike Richards|
|SA: 27||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 25||EV: 21 - 23|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 4|
|SV%: .926||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 47||TOI: 59:42|
|Saves: 44||EV: 36 - 39|
|PIM: 2||PP: 6 - 6|
|SV%: .936||SH: 2 - 2|