Three key aspects of the Kings’ 4-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes...
1. SOME QUICK FRUSTRATION EARLY
There’s no question that the game got away from the Coyotes in the second period, when they started delivering questionable hits and taking bad penalties. That stuff seemed to be born from frustration, and the seeds for that were planted in the first period. The Coyotes, as expected, came out strong. Their first five minutes of the first period were more effective than any stretch they had in Game 1. The Kings, though, didn’t bend. The defensemen did an admirable job of managing the Coyotes’ rushes, and Jonathan Quick looked composed and sharp throughout the entire game, as he made 24 saves for his third career playoff shutout.
2. MAINTAINING COMPOSURE LATE
It’s human nature to want to retaliate when a teammate suffers a vicious hit. Understandable, yes, but rarely wise. So when Shane Doan and Martin Hanzal were kicked out of the game, when Mike Smith did his best Ron Hextall impression and when Derek Morris delivered a dangerous knee, the Kings had the perfect response: they kept playing hockey. The Kings maintained their poise late in the second period and throughout the third period. Retribution is highly overrated. The best revenge for a team is to see opponents skate toward the penalty box, or the locker room. The Kings just kept playing hard, which might have frustrated the Coyotes even more.
3. HATS OFF TO CARTER
If you put yourself in good positions enough times, good things will happen. Jeff Carter has had scoring chances of late, but entering Tuesday he had only one goal in 10 playoff games. That changed in Game 2, as Carter recorded a playoff hat trick, the first by a Kings player since Wayne Gretzky in 1993. All three times, Carter was around the Phoenix net. He scored on a deflection, a rebound and on an alert shot after a nice play by Dustin Penner. The Coyotes did a much better job of the Anze Kopitar-centered first line than they did in Game 1, but the second line was there to pick up the slack. Penner and Mike Richards also played well.