Kings Put Coyotes on Brink of Extinction
The Kings are a scary team. After taking the Coyotes' best punch, the Kings responded in their stoic intensity taking Game 3 with a 2-1 win.
"We were all right early, we hung around the game," Coyotes' head coach Dave Tippett said. "Ultimately, you know, they're a pretty good team."
Phoenix opened the game looking to attack the Kings' net, Taylor Pyatt recording the game's first shot-on-goal 40 seconds into the game. The Coyotes wound up outshooting the Kings 11-8 in the first period, and despite the scoreless tie it really looked like they were going to make it a series.
Perhaps what sealed their fate was Daymond Langkow scoring a minute into the second period. Despite playing from behind for the first time since Game 1 of the St. Louis series, the Kings repeated history. Two minutes later Anze Kopitar tied the game, and it just looked like a matter of time before the Kings dropped the hammer.
"It's just the way we play," Kopitar said about the quick response. "Again, we try to stay aggressive, score goals, obviously."
The hammer came from rookie Dwight King who scored his fourth of the series and fifth in the playoffs just less than two minutes into the third period.
"It was great," King said. "I got the puck off the wall from [Trevor Lewis] and had a little more time that I expected."
"Great play out of the corner," Sutter commented. "Guy with good hands. A little composure there. Puts it right in the spot he has to."
The Kings are now 11-1 in the playoffs becoming the third team since 1980 to win 11 of their first 12 playoff games joining the Detroit Red Wings of 1995 and Edmonton Oilers in 1983. The Kings are also the third team to lead 3-0 in the first two playoff series joining the Pittsburgh Penguins of 2008 and the Red Wings of 1995.
Quick, who had enough time to make Smores making seven of his 18 saves in the final 40 minutes, wasn't about to get too far ahead.
"We just won a game," Quick said. "That's all it is. We're going to move forward, and we're going to get ready for Game 4."
Which is good since those three teams all lost in the Stanley Cup Finals: Detroit and Edmonton in sweeps and Pittsburgh in six games.
Having been down this road the Kings know what to expect.
"We might as well give everything you got because if you don't do that, you'll go the next day and feel like you should have," Tippett said.
Despite cracking jokes during the postgame press conference, Sutter isn't ready to click his heels in the air quite yet.
"I've been in lots of Conference Finals, and only won one. We have a long ways to go here. As I said, doesn't matter. The farther you go, the tougher it is to win games. Two is tougher than one. Three is tougher than two. Not hard to figure it out."
The only way the Coyotes will win Game 4 is if the Kings take their foot of the pedal. But the Kings learned from that mistake in the first period.
"Obviously a lot of people are doubting us," Coyotes' forward Mikkel Boedker said. "We're used to that. I mean, obviously they think the Kings are going to the finals already. But the series isn't over. We still plan to win it. We're not done yet."
"I think tonight first period we kind of sat back and figured out pretty quick it's not going to work," Kopitar said.
The Kings have the discipline, the skill, the size, the speed, the everything in this series. A sold out STAPLES Center crowd on Sunday can expect a handshake line on center ice at around 3 p.m.