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Los Angeles now Kings of the road

Wednesday, 05.16.2012 / 12:48 AM | John Kreiser  - NHL.com Columnist
The Los Angeles Kings were among the poorest road playoff teams in NHL history -- until now.

Before this spring, the Kings had won just 29 of 95 playoff games away from L.A. since entering the NHL in 1967 -- and that included wins in their last two games at San Jose during their six-game loss to the Sharks in 2011. The back-to-back wins matched the longest road winning streak in the franchise's playoff history.

But the Kings have been flawless away from home this spring. They improved to 7-0 on the road Tuesday night by dominating the Phoenix Coyotes 4-0 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. The seven straight wins match a single-season record for consecutive road wins last accomplished by the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks.

More impressive is that they've tied the New York Islanders' multiple-season record with nine straight playoff road victories. The Isles in 1982 and '83 also won nine in a row on the way to their third and fourth consecutive Stanley Cups.

The Kings haven't trailed in a game since Game 1 of their second-round series against St. Louis, when the Blues scored first and L.A. tied the game at 16:58 of the opening period. They've outscored their opposition 26-10 in the seven road wins and have allowed just one power-play goal on 35 attempts in those games.

In the first two games of this series, they've outshot the Coyotes 88-51 and attempted 150 shots to 94 for Phoenix; more important, they've scored eight goals and allowed just two.

Hat's off -- Before Tuesday, the Kings had been rolling along without much offensive help from Jeff Carter, who had scored just once in L.A.'s first 10 games this spring. But in Game 2, Carter scored the Kings' last three goals, becoming the first Los Angeles player to have a hat trick since Wayne Gretzky did it in Game 7 of the 1993 Western Conference Finals against Toronto. It was the first natural hat trick by a Los Angeles player in the postseason since Luc Robitaille had one against Edmonton on April 26, 1991.

Carter had scored just three times in his previous 19 playoff games before his hat trick on Tuesday night.

King of Kings -- Rookie Dwight King makes his living as a bottom-six forward for the Kings, but that's not to say he's not having an impact. King opened the scoring on Tuesday night and was credited with the winning goal in L.A.'s 4-0 victory. His four goals are the most in the playoffs by a Kings' rookie since Warren Rychel had six during the 1993 run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Something special -- As if the Kings didn't have enough things going right for them, their power play even woke up in Game 2.

The Kings were just 4-for-51 with the extra man through their first 10 playoff games -- and only 2-for-43 after a 2-for-8 showing in their playoff opener. But thanks to a pair of major penalties that gave them plenty of practice, the Kings went 2-for-8 -- with Carter scoring twice during 5-on-3 advantages.

Meanwhile, the penalty-killers continue to make it look easy. They killed off all four Phoenix power plays on Tuesday, extending their run of consecutive kills to 28. For the playoffs, the Kings have allowed just three power-play goals on 47 attempts -- and scored four shorthanded goals of their own.

It's good to be the Kings -- History says the Kings can start making their plans for the Stanley Cup Final.

The Coyotes are among the teams that have never come back from a 2-0 deficit in the playoffs. The Kings have failed to win just once when winning the first two games of a series -- and that came in 1968, the first year of the franchise, when they won the first two games against Minnesota at home but wound up losing to the North Stars in seven games.
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