The giant-killing Los Angeles Kings extended their magical playoff run, moving to just one win from their first Stanley Cup finals appearance since 1993 with a 2-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday.
With Dwight King's go-ahead goal 1.47 minutes into the third period breaking the deadlock, the eighth-seeded Kings took a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference final.
Los Angeles, who crushed the third-seeded Coyotes 4-0 in Phoenix on Tuesday, have now won eight consecutive post-season games but they are taking nothing for granted ahead of Sunday's Game Four, also at home.
Jonathan Quick (the goaltender for the Los Angeles Kings) told reporters that you never get anything for three wins and that their team will be going right back to work tomorrow to get prepared for the coming match. He said that you obviously have to enjoy the victory that you obtain for a moment after the game since that really is the reason why you work so very hard. He said that he knows what they all have ahead of them and they know that Phoenix will be coming pretty hard in game number four. heliskiing canada
Phoenix, who edged Los Angeles in a scoreless first period with 11 shots on goal versus eight, opened the scoring when center Daymond Langkow powered home a wrist shot 1.03 minutes into the second period.
The Kings responded just 2.07 minutes later, Slovenian center Anze Kopitar breaking clear following assists by Dustin Brown and Justin Williams before deftly backhanding the puck past goalie Mike Smith into the net.
With cries of "Let's Go Kings" echoing around the Staples Center, Los Angeles struck early in the third period when left wing King scored with a wrist shot in the top corner of the net, his fifth goal in five games, to put his team 2-1 ahead.
King said that he had been able to get the puck off of the wall and had ended up with more time than he had expected to have. Once he made it close enough to the middle, he had a great chance to shoot and that is what he did.
Roared on by an electrified sellout crowd of 18,367 with many of them waving their Kings towels in the air, the home team held on to push the Coyotes to the brink of elimination.
The Kings upset the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the playoffs before going on to sweep the second-seeded St Louis Blues and advance to the Western Conference final.
The captain of the phoenix team (Shane Doan) said that he thought that they had been playing fine and that he did not think they had played badly for much of the game. He said that for the most part, they had played the way that they wanted to but they could not find a way to score. They had had a few chances but they could not make things work and that turned out to be the difference.
Asked to assess his team's feelings after trailing 0-3 in the series, Doan replied: "None of us planned on being in it (a 3-0 hole). I don't think it's disbelief but I think it's disappointed."
Coyotes goaltender Smith kept his team in the game by stopping 26 shots in an inspired performance, but he was unable to save King's shot to the glove side in the third period.
Dave Tippett (coach for Phoenix) said that it had been a tight game all the way through. He said that they had not created much but they hung around and gave themselves a chance to win. Unfortunately, they have not been able to make it to the level of their competition yet.
The Coyotes were without forward Martin Hanzal, who was suspended one game by the league on Wednesday for a harsh hit on Kings captain Dustin Brown in Game Two.