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The Key Three: May 3

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings

Three key aspects of the Kings’ 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues...


The St. Louis Blues had some life. They had been outplayed in the first period -- although not by a wide margin -- and trailed 1-0 at the start of the second period, but they needed only 1 minute, 13 seconds, of the second period to tie the game on Chris Stewart’s goal. How would the Kings respond? Quite well, actually. On the next shift, Matt Greene used the boards to get the puck out of the defensive zone, and it ended up on the stick of Dwight King, and with King enjoying a clear path to the net. King fired a shot past Brian Elliott from the right circle and, just like that, the Blues’ balloon deflated again, and the Kings regained control.


Based on the way the second and third periods went in Game 2, when the Kings held a large lead then basically went into a bunker mentality as they tried to hold off the Blues, it seemed likely that the Blues would charge hard in the third period. Trailing 3-1, the Blues did get a goal 4:35 into the period to pull within one, but the goal was a bit of a one-off. The Blues did have their threatening moments in the period, but for the most part, the Kings did an excellent job of keeping the game well within their comfort level. The Blues did outshoot the Kings 10-4 in the third period, but the Kings were strong in the neutral zone throughout the period.


The Kings got a power-play goal. Tough to believe, yes, but it’s true. More importantly, they once again won the special-teams battle, this time through more conventional means. There were no shorthanded goals for the Kings, but they did score a power-play goal and went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill. The Kings, for the most part, did an excellent job of playing with poise, while the Blues took a couple meaningless penalties that seemed born from frustration. The power-play goal, in itself, was huge, as Mike Richards’ tight-angle shot with 9:31 remaining in the second period beat Elliott and gave the Kings a 3-1 lead and a bit of breathing room.

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