The Key Three: May 17
Three key aspects of the Kings' 2-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes
Three key aspects of the Kings’ 2-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes...
1. BOUNCE-BACK GOAL
STAPLES Center fell silent when Daymond Langkow scored 1:03 into the second period. Until that point, the Kings had not trailed in a game since April 28, since the first period of Game 1 against St. Louis in the second round. How would they respond? Would the Coyotes, who were playing well overall, become emboldened and push the lead? No. Less than two minutes after Langkow’s goal, Dustin Brown hit Anze Kopitar with a long pass to start a breakaway, which Kopitar finished with some nice touch around the net and a backhand goal. The Kings didn’t play their first until the third period, but Kopitar’s goal was huge in terms of calming nerves.
2. KING OF ALL KINGS
Dwight King has four goals in the Western Conference Finals? Dwight King, who was in the American Hockey League until mid-February? King continued his improbable scoring run when he netted the game-winning goal early in the third period last night. King is primarily a front-of-the-net grinder, but he showed some nice touch on his shot from the right circle. Moreover, King contributed to a line that was the Kings’ best in Game 3. Jarret Stoll moved well all over the ice and Trevor Lewis, as Dustin Brown pointed out after the game, did hard work that goes unnoticed. King’s emergence is a big reason why the Kings are where they are.
3. LATE-GAME SHUTDOWN
Perhaps the biggest sustained applause of the season at STAPLES Center came late in the third period, with the Kings trying to hold onto their 2-1 lead. Coyotes goalie Mike Smith wanted to get out of his net, for an extra attacker, but couldn’t. The Kings put on a forechecking clinic for most of the final four minutes, and nobody was more impressive than Slava Voynov, who looked as though he had the puck adhered to his stick for a long period of time as he worked behind the net. Instead of having to survive a late-game assault from the Coyotes, the Kings actually drew a penalty and were able to kill the final few minutes with surprising ease.
Follow Rich Hammond on Twitter at @LAKingsInsider