|The Kings’ Justin Williams and Drew Doughty (8) greet Anze Kopitar after his first-period goal in the Western finals opener. (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)|
Kings remain perfect on road
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Los Angeles gave up goal from the center line, another tying goal on a miscommunication.
The way the Kings dominated the rest of the game those two slip-ups certainly weren’t going to derail their bid to take home-ice advantage from the Phoenix Coyotes.
Overwhelming Phoenix from the start, the Kings overcame a couple of rare miscues by goalie Jonathan Quick to open the Western Conference finals with a 4-2 victory Sunday night to remain unbeaten on the road in the playoffs.
Quick rebounded from his mistakes with some big saves in Phoenix’s closing flurry and Dwight King scored his second goal into an empty net in the final minute, giving Los Angeles its sixth straight road playoff victory, one short of the NHL record for a single postseason. The Kings also won their final two road playoff games last year.
“We all know on our team that wasn’t going to beat us,’’ Kings center Jarret Stoll said. “That’s just the way we played.’’
With a week off after sweeping St. Louis in the second round, the Kings were far from rusty, dominating the Coyotes early. Los Angeles controlled the puck for long stretches of the first period to set up Anze Kopitar’s goal four minutes in.
Phoenix rallied to tie twice, the first one on a shot by Derek Morris that surprised Quick from the red line, but the Kings kept coming.
Dustin Brown had a goal and an assist, King had his first career two-goal game, and Los Angeles outshot Phoenix, 48-27.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in the desert.
The Coyotes also had a long layoff - they finished off Nashville on Monday night - and weren’t quite as sharp.
Morris had his surprising goal and Mikkel Boedker had another tying goal in the second period, but the Coyotes were outplayed pretty much the rest of the way.
“Their whole team was better than our team,’’ Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “We weren’t close in that game. We got beat in every facet of the game. Hopefully, we take some lessons from it and get better for the next game.’’
The game was plenty testy, with multiple scrums, hard hits and a roughing penalty on a goalie (Phoenix’s Mike Smith) in the first period - a trend that continued throughout the game.
“We’ve played these guys a lot over the years and this time of year, you do whatever you can do to get an edge,’’ Brown said.