LAst Night's Action: Kings Needed Overtime To Get to Stanley Cup Finals
LA Kings defeat Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 (OT). The Kings are going to play for Lord Stanley's Cup. As improbable as that statement might have been when they were losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets 1-0 in January, it's real.
"I'm so happy right now," Drew Doughty said.
As evidenced by the score, Game 5 was no easy feat for the Kings. In fact the swings of momentum in this game could have induced motion sickness. The first 10 minutes of the game was all Coyotes with Taylor Pyatt getting the power-play goal. But things took a turn towards the Kings when Anze Kopitar scored the short-handed goal at 11:13, the fifth for the Kings in the playoffs.
Back and forth things went in the second period, a Marc-Antoine Pouliot goal matched by a Drew Doughty goal. A Mike Richards goal matched by a Keith Yandle goal.
In the third period things reached a stalemate. The Kings killed off a 5-on-3, and the Coyotes continued their struggles with scoring in the final period of regulation. As the ice tipped towards the Kings in the overtime period, the Coyotes not getting their first shot-on-goal until nearly 10 minutes in.
In Game 7 of the 1993 Campbell Conference Finals in Toronto, there was a controversial non-call of a Wayne Gretzky high-stick to Doug Gilmour that led to Gretzky's winning goal in overtime moments later.
And so in this game there was a non-call of Dustin Brown's hit on Michal Rozsival. Whether it was a knee or a late hit, it was not penalized. Rozsival was helped off the ice, and 12 seconds later and nearly 18 minutes into the overtime period Dustin Penner cleaned up a rebound off of Jeff Carter's initial shot and wristed it past Mike Smith.
Yes, Dustin Penner scored the game winner, his first career playoff overtime goal.
"It's the biggest goal of my career thus far," Penner said. "Hopefully there's a couple more waiting in the Finals. I was at the right place at the right time."
Coyotes players were enraged, Kings players were overjoyed and Coyotes fans started throwing things onto the ice. As the adrenaline settled down came perspective.
"We have to take some blame for it too and not settle down and just keep playing," Yandle said. "It’s something were we could have just settled down and continued to play."
Jonathan Quick made 38 saves while Smith made 47. But Quick wasn't ready go crazy.
"It’s a great accomplishment, but at the end of the day there’s still work to be done," Quick said.
Head Coach Darryl Sutter took a moment to reflect during the postgame conference.
"I'm proud of the players. That's the biggest thing for me. Hell of accomplishment for the players. That's what it's about. They're the guys that sweat and bleed. That's what it's about. I know from being a player. I'm proud of them guys."
The Kings became the second eight-seed to make the Stanley Cup Finals. They become the seventh team to reach the Finals in 14 games since 1987 when the NHL went to four best-of-seven game series with no team doing it in fewer games. And the Kings now hold the record of 10 consecutive road playoff wins spanning more than one year.
The Kings are four games away from the Holy Grail of Hockey.
"It means everything," Doughty said. "You grow up your whole life wanting to be in that Stanley Cup Final, and to make it there, how very hard it is. You just hear from the older guys who have played, guys like [Willie] Mitchell who’ve played 13 years in the league and he hasn’t been there yet. And to get there for him and older guys like that is a great feeling."
And for fans who have stuck with this organization since its inception in 1967, this too is a great feeling.
LA Dodgers defeat Arizona Diamondbacks 8-7. The Dodgers were down 5-0 in the fifth inning. Aaron Harang had struggled and the Dodgers couldn't get the key hits against Trevor Cahill. Cahill's night was done after six innings, and trailing 6-1 the Dodgers pounced. Four runs before recording an out in what became a five-run inning.
Then after the D-Backs got a run back in the eighth, Ivan De Jesus hit a double to centerfield to score the winning runs. Kenley Jansen got the save, and the Dodgers got the improbable win.
The Dodgers became the first team in the Majors with 30 wins.
LA Angels defeat Oakland Athletics 5-0.
LA Angels at Oakland Athletics. 12:35 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.
LA Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks. 6:40 p.m. KCAL9, AM 570 KLAC.
Chivas USA at New York Red Bulls. 4:00 p.m.
San Jose Earthquakes at LA Galaxy. 7:30 p.m. KDOC.