L.A. Kings Headed To Stanley Cup Finals After Road Heroics
In Games 1, 2 and 3 the Kings defeated the Coyotes 4-2, 4-0, and 2-1, respectively. Clutch performances by right wing Dustin Brown and goalie Jonathan Quick gave the Kings the upper hand in the series. Leading the series 3-0, it seemed as if the Kings would sweep the Coyotes for their second sweep of the postseason. However, Phoenix did not go down without a fight. Instead, Phoenix defeated the Kings, 2-0, at Staples Center on Sunday to force the series to a Game 5.
In Game 5, Anze Kopitar was the first to strike for Los Angeles in the first period tying the game 1-1. Kopitar scored on a shorthanded goal with assists by Drew Doughty and Brown. In the second period, Doughty scored with assists by Colin Fraser and Justin Williams. Mike Richards added a goal with assists from Dustin Penner and Jeff Carter, ending the second period tied at three.
Overtime remained a back and forth game until Penner capitalized on a rare opportunity. The goal by Penner, scored 17:42 into overtime, clinched the victory for Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
Though just an eighth seed, the Kings have knocked out the top three seeds of the Western Conference during the 2012 playoffs. First, Los Angeles defeated the No. 1 seed Vancouver Canucks (4-1). Not surprisingly, Los Angeles won the face-off with the second-seeded, St Louis Blues (4-0). And most recently, they kept their Cup hopes alive by defeating third-seeded Phoenix (4-1). This impressive run made the Kings the second eighth seed to reach the Stanley Cup finals in NHL history (the first was Edmonton in 2006).
What’s most remarkable about the Kings’ demolition of their playoff opponents is their impressive play on the road. Unlike most teams, the Kings excel in opposing arenas. Los Angeles is the first team to be undefeated on the road. They have won 10 straight road games over the past two playoffs.
The ferocity will surely not diminish as the Kings open the Stanley Cup finals on the road against the Devils or the Rangers on Wednesday, May 30. Although Game 1 is set for May 30, the Kings are still awaiting the results of the Eastern Conference finals, where the Devils lead the Rangers, three games to two.