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Kings crush Coyotes 4-0 for 2-0 series lead

by Dan Rosen
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The NHL's playoff road warriors are heading home with a commanding lead in the Western Conference Finals.

The Los Angeles Kings tied three NHL records -- and more importantly got themselves halfway to the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-0 win Tuesday in Game 2 at Arena. The Kings lead the series 2-0 with Game 3 set for Thursday at Staples Center in Los Angeles (9 p.m. ET; NBC, TSN, RDS).

Jeff Carter, who had only one goal in the previous 10 playoff games, became the first Kings player since Wayne Gretzky in 1993 to score a hat trick in a playoff game. Jonathan Quick made 24 saves for his second shutout of the postseason and Los Angeles ran its streak of successful penalty kills to 28 with four more.

"We really want it right now," forward Dustin Penner told "We want the first goal. We want the next goal. It's that intensity and that passion that drives us. It's that good type of fear that stops you from letting games get away from you and continues to push you forward. We use that fear of losing to motivate us as opposed to shrinking to it."

The Kings have gotten bigger and better away from Southern California.

They have won seven straight road games in these playoffs, tying a record last matched by the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks. Their 7-0 road record to start the playoffs ties a record set by the 1999 Colorado Avalanche. They've won nine straight on the road dating back to last spring. That ties the record for most road wins spanning consecutive postseasons, previously done by the Islanders in 1982 and 1983.

The 2010 Blackhawks, 1982 Islanders and 1983 Islanders have the same thing in common -- they all won the Stanley Cup. The 2012 Kings are two wins away from giving themselves the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup against either the New Jersey Devils or New York Rangers.

"We try to get away from all that outside jargon, whatever you want to call it," Penner said. "It doesn't matter where we are, what the temperature is outside, we just go out there and play the game the way we're supposed to play, within the system. The outcome will take care of itself."

The Coyotes had to play the final 23:31 without captain Shane Doan and the last 8:59 without center Martin Hanzal. Both were given five-minute majors for boarding and game misconducts.

Doan was tossed 16:29 into the second after crunching Trevor Lewis into the boards near the right corner, leading to a 5-on-3 goal for the Kings. Hanzal was sent off at 11:01 of the third period after hitting Kings captain Dustin Brown between the numbers roughly three feet from the end boards in the defensive zone. Brown stayed down for a few moments, but he stayed in the game after getting some assistance on his way to the bench during the TV timeout.

The Coyotes were called for 13 penalties totaling 56 minutes. Carter scored two of his three goals when the Kings were skating with a 5-on-3 advantage.

"I think you have to give them credit, how they're playing," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said of the Kings. "I certainly think that we can show better than we are right now. I liked the first period, first part of the second period. We've got to find a way to sustain that, obviously keeps some pucks out of our net, be more disciplined, capitalize on a chance or two; at least give ourselves a chance where we feel like we're competitive in the game."

The Kings jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Dwight King's third goal of the series and fourth of the playoffs 13:15 into the first period. Phoenix had several quality chances to tie the game within the first four minutes of the second period, but Quick came up with seven saves to preserve the 1-0 lead that ballooned to 2-0 when Carter scored the first of his three goals at 4:47.

Getting the two-goal lead was something the Kings could not do in Game 1. That's how the Coyotes, despite being badly outplayed and outshot, were able to keep the game tied going into the third period.

They couldn't come close to doing that in Game 2.

"It was huge, especially because we didn't have the best start," Kings center Anze Kopitar said of Carter's goal to make it 2-0. "We were up in shots, but we were in and out of their zone the whole time. Quickie held us in it again and we were able to get our legs underneath us and push through. Getting the second goal and obviously getting the PP goal was huge for us to get more insurance. After that we brought it home safe."

Carter extended the lead to 3-0 when he deflected Kopitar's shot from the right circle past Mike Smith during a 5-on-3 after Doan's boarding incident on Lewis. Keith Yandle was already in the penalty box for roughing and Daymond Langkow went off at the same time as Doan for slashing Brown.

"Penalties took the game away from us," Tippett said.

Penner was the difference in the Kings taking a 2-0 lead. He used his big body to create a scoring chance for Carter.

Penner beat both Yandle and Doan to the puck at the end boards. He shielded Doan, allowing Mike Richards to take the puck and bring it into the corner. Penner got it back with his back to the right post, tipped a pass to Carter, who beat Antoine Vermette in and got just enough on the shot to send it underneath Smith's glove.

Tippett spoke about the need to win more puck battles after Game 1, but on that goal three of his players -- Yandle, Doan and Vermette -- all got beat.

"We got outcompeted again, outbattled," said Smith, who made 36 saves. "In the first period we played a little better and competed a little harder, but it's not enough.

"There's no need to hit the panic button, but we do need to play better."

It'll help if they can avoid the penalty box, avoid the frustration that was so obvious Tuesday night.

"We have to keep going. We have to keep finishing our checks," Brown said. "When you have everyone, whether it's your best players or your role players, finishing checks, doing everything they can to get in the way, it can get frustrating (for the other team). The intensity is high, and at this stage of the playoffs it's important to understand that if they are frustrated we have to keep doing what we're doing."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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