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The Key Three: April 30

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings

Three key aspects of the Kings’ 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues...


In Game 1, the Blues came out flying, with an outstanding first 10 minutes of the first period and a 1-0 lead. The Kings overcame that early deficit and won the game, but they didn’t want a duplication in Game 2. No problem there. On the first shift of the game, Dustin Penner took the puck to the net strong. Brian Elliott made the stop, but the puck remained free and Mike Richards knocked in the rebound. Just 31 seconds into the game, the Kings had grabbed the momentum, and they kept a vise-like grip on it for the rest of the period. The Kings outshot the Blues 16-5 and scored two back-breaking goals in the final two minutes to take a 4-0 lead.


The last thing the Kings, with a four-goal lead, wanted to do was give the Blues some life at the start of the second period. It took only 18 seconds, though, for Andy McDonald to score and bring the Blues within 4-1. The Kings were still in a strong position, but suddenly the crowd was back into the game, and a three-goal deficit somehow seems far more manageable than a four-goal deficit. The Kings didn’t wilt, though. Less than a minute after McDonald’s goal, Justin Williams went to the front of the net and scored after a nice centering pass from Dustin Brown. The Kings had only two second-period shots, but maintained their lead.


The Blues spent more than one-quarter of the game -- 15 minutes, 13 seconds -- on the power play, and not only did they fail to score but they were actually minus-1 because of Anze Kopitar’s shorthanded goal. The Kings did a miserable job of maintaining composure at times, particularly in the third period, but the penalty-killing unit was once again outstanding. A big nod goes to goalie Jonathan Quick, who was at his best when the Blues had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:35 in the third period. In the series, the Kings are now 12-for-12 on the penalty kill. In the playoffs overall, the Kings have allowed three power-play goals and scored four shorthanded goals.

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