The Los Angeles Kings have continued playing high quality playoff hockey. Sunday night, the Kings beat the Phoenix Coyotes by a score of 4-2 in a game where the Kings probably should have won by more than two goals. In a battle of two teams that have never won the Stanley Cup, the Kings were the most dominant team on Sunday night. Through the first twenty minutes, the Kings had out-shot the Coyotes 17 to 4 and yet the game was tied at one apiece. Anze Kopitar of Los Angeles was able to score on a sick backhander when he picked up the puck behind a group of players crowded in front of former Bolt Mike Smith. Smith was unable to react quickly enough to stop Kopitar’s backhander and the Kings were off to a 1-0 lead about 4 minutes into the game. Around ten minutes later, Phoenix defenseman Derek Morris unleashed a 100 foot slap shot that had enough break on it so impress Rays pitcher James Shields. Morris fired the puck in from just past the red line that looked to have about as much break as a curve ball from Big Game Shields. The game was tied at one, which was a blessing from the hockey gods for the Coyotes.
The second period was much less lopsided. The shots ended up 17-14, still in favor of the Kings. Two minutes before the halfway point of the period, Mike Richards and Dwight King were able to escape and create a nice two on one rush. Richards saw that the passing lane was sealed off, so ripped a shot of Smitty’s right pad. King pounced on the rebound and flipped it past Smith for the 2-1 advantage. The rest of the period involved the Coyotes creating chances, but not finishing as the Kings stayed solid defensively while Quick was able to shut the door; until late in the period. Forechecking pressure from the Coyotes created a turnover off of Kings’ defenseman Drew Doughty from behind the net. Morris flew in just behind Quick after the goaltender had played the puck to Doughty and knocked the defenseman off of the puck. Shane Doan picked up the puck and passed it to Mikkel Boedker in front of the net for the goal. Once again, a period in which the Kings were the better ended up tied after another break for the Coyotes.
As the third period began, the Kings once again dominated. Just over two minutes into the third, Dustin Brown was sprung into the offensive zone by a nice pass from Slava Voynov. Brown went one on one against Rostislav Klesla, and was able to create separation and sniped the puck through Smith for a 3-2 lead, the Kings’ third one goal lead of the game. The Kings remained the dominant team until there was about five minutes left in the period. The Coyotes went on a surge, pressing to stuff the puck past Jonathan Quick in net. However, the Coyotes could not overcome this one goal deficit. Dwight King scored his second goal of the game, an empty netter, and the Kings proceeded to win game 1 by a final score of 4-2. The next time these two teams will be on Tuesday the 15th at 9:00 pm EST.
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