King, Quick lead Kings past Coyotes, 2-1

The Los Angeles Kings’ assault on the Western Conference is almost over. A 2-1 victory over the third seeded Phoenix Coyotes at the Staples Center Thursday night puts the Kings on the cusp of the Cup. L.A. has won 8 straight and is 11-1 against the Western elite this postseason. 

 
Dwight King’s goal 1:47 into the final period broke a 1-1 tie and proved to be the difference maker. King (1st star) received a pass from Trevor Lewis and lifted a wrist shot over the glove of Mike Smith. The game winning goal resulted from an unrelenting forecheck led by Jarrett Stoll. The Kings’ third line of Stoll - King - and Trevor Lewis has been incredibly productive (4 goals and 6 assists this series) and proven to be a formidable speed bump for the Coyotes. 
 
The Coyotes had their first lead of the series when Daymond Langkow received a pass from Keith Yandle and slipped the puck pass Jonathan Quick’s legs 63 seconds into the second period. It was the first time the Kings trailed since game one against the Blues. 
 
The Phoenix lead was short-lived when Second Star Anze Kopitar struck 67 seconds later for the Kings. The first two goals of the game were strikingly similar. Kopitar received a breakout pass from Dustin Brown went forehand-backhand and slid the puck between Smith’s legs. 
 
Goaltender Jonathan Quick continued his dominance in between the pipes. Quick made the play of the game a minute after the Kings had captured the league. A Coyote pass across the crease to an open forward forced Quick to oscillate from the left to right mid-split. His outstretched glove got enough puck to change the trajectory and keep the lead. The flurry in front of the net was Phoenix’s last real scoring chance as they were out shot 9-1 through the midpoint of the period. Quick finished with 18 saves. 
 
The Kings started the game sluggish but became revitalized through their forecheck. Stoll brought contagious energy with lightning speed and untamable hustle. Along with Quick’s consistent play the forecheck has proven paramount in the Kings’ success. The forecheck is not only aggressive but also intelligent. Kings’ forwards are able to disrupt passes by being in the right position and clogging lanes.
 
Willie Mitchell, Alec Martinez and the rest of the Kings’ defensemen did not allow Coyote forwards to get behind them. Phoenix looked to convert stretch passes and create fast break opportunities every chance they could. 
 
History does not bode well for Phoenix. Only three teams have overcome a 3-0 deficit.
 
Game 4 is Sunday at the Staples Center. 
 
 
Notes:
-The Coyotes definitely missed forward Martin Hanzal. Hanzal - suspended a game for boarding in game 2 could have helped an offense that amounted zero pressure in the final period.
 
-The Kings’ power play was dreadful. The first two power plays resulted in one shot and ended up 0/4 on the night.
 
-The Kings’ penalty killing unit played lights out. Not only did they stymie the Coyotes’ attack but had two very good scoring opportunities. The Kings have scored four goals this postseason when they’re a man down. The Kings might want to get more penalties. 
 
-Drew Doughty might be playing the wrong sport. His form tackling technique is flawless, just ask Shane Doan.