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Seven reasons for Kings' flawless road record

by Adam Kimelman

Two games into the Western Conference Finals, fans might need a reminder that the Los Angeles Kings, who lead the series 2-0, are the eighth seed.

The way the Kings have rampaged their way through the playoffs -- needing just nine games to knock out the West's top two teams and then winning the first two games against the third-seeded Phoenix Coyotes -- a reminder might be in order.

Making the Kings' run even more remarkable is their perfect playoff road record, which moved to 7-0 with their 4-0 win in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday. The win also extended their postseason road winning streak to nine straight games, dating to last season, which ties the 1982-83 New York Islanders for most in NHL history.

So how have the Kings done it this year? Well, here are seven reasons the Kings are 7-for-7 on the road in the postseason.

1. Fast starts

No matter the venue, crowds always are louder come playoff time. That volume can be an extra push for the home team. The Kings have been able to counter the home-fan advantage by scoring first four times in their seven road games, including three straight games. And they've either led or been tied after 20 minutes in all but one road game. The only time they trailed after one period was Game 5 of the first round against the Canucks.


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2. Get ahead, stay ahead

Scoring first on the road has been big for the Kings, but so has the way they've been able to hold those leads. They've been behind just three times in their seven road games, for a total of just 46:32. In fact, they haven't trailed at all since Game 1 of the second round against the Blues, when David Backes scored 9:16 into the game. The deficit lasted just 6:56, until Kings defenseman Slava Voynov scored.

3. Relentless attack

The Kings have scored early on the road, but rather than sit back and protect their lead, they've pressed the attack at every turn. Of the 21 regulation-time periods they've played, they have a goal in 18 of them, including at least one in all six periods against the Coyotes. They scored in seven of nine periods in Vancouver, and five of six in St. Louis. In five of those 18 periods, they've scored at least two goals. And even when they haven't scored, they've put constant pressure on the opposition defense, firing at least 10 shots on net in 13 of 21 regulation road periods, including five of six in two games of the conference finals.

4. Scoring by committee

Teams that depend on one player or line for success usually don't last long in the postseason. Depth is the key, and the Kings have lots of it. Six different players have scored game-winning goals, and their League-high 26 road goals have been scored by 13 different players. Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter lead the way with four each; top-line center Anze Kopitar has three, but so does rookie Dwight King. Three of the goals have come from defensemen Voynov, Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene, who entered this year's playoffs with a combined two playoff goals in 81 games.

5. Perfect killers

The Kings had good success in regular season killing penalties away from home, but they've taken things to a whole other level in the playoffs. They've successfully killed off 23 straight opposing power plays on the road, a streak that dates to Henrik Sedin's first-period power-play goal in Game 5 against the Canucks. Included in that streak are a perfect 12-for-12 mark in St. Louis -- including a pair of five-on-three Blues advantages in Game 2 -- and the first nine in Phoenix.

6. Matchups? What matchups?

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage to being on the road is not having the last change on stoppages in play. The home team can see what players the road team is putting on the ice and counter appropriately. However, Kings coach Darryl Sutter clearly trusts his players enough to do their jobs against whatever competition they're facing, and his players have rewarded that trust by adhering to the game plan.

7. Net excellence

Like the rest of his teammates, Quick has raised his remarkable play on the road. In seven games, he has a 1.42 goals-against average and .952 save percentage; he's allowed one goal or fewer in three of the seven games, and never more than two in any of the games. And he's accomplished that while facing 210 shots, or almost 100 more than he's faced at home. His numbers at home are good -- 1.51 GAA, .948 save percentage -- but his only postseason loss came at Staples Center, in Game 4 of the first round against the Canucks, which also was the only game he allowed more than two goals.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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