This was a must win game for the Phoenix Coyotes. Instead they turned Game 2 into a WWE event, playing the villain to perfection. But in the end, just like in Vince McMahon’s form of entertainment, the good guy wins in the end. The Los Angeles Kings took all the cheap shots and dirty play in stride, and cruised to a 4-0 win over the Coyotes, to grab a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Final.
The Coyotes did start out with good intentions, as they actually showed up in the first period unlike in Game one. They even manufactured a couple of scoring chances in the opening frame. However Jonathan Quick was solid in the Kings net, looking much sharper than he did in the first game. The Kings took it in stride, then opened the scoring at the 13:15 mark of the period as Dwight King tipped home a Drew Doughty shot to draw first blood for the Kings.
The Coyotes did come out strong early in the second, but Quick once again was focused and in control in the Kings’ net. The Kings then seized control as Jeff Carter broke out of a scoring slump, as he finished off a lovely feed from Dustin Penner, to give the Kings a two goal lead.
The Coyotes were clearly frustrated and started to lose their cool. Shane Doan started the nonsense buy nailing Trevor Lewis from behind into the boards. Doan received a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct. Then Mike Smith, who has been the main reason why the Coyotes are in the Western Final, did his best Paul Bunyan impression on Dustin Brown’s leg. Amazingly Brown was called for diving, while Smith received a slashing minor.
The Kings still took everything in stride as Anze Kopitar’s shot deflected off Carter’s shin pad to give the Kings an insurmountable three goal lead. More importantly it was a power play goal for the Kings, who have struggled mightily in that department.
The third period continued with the Coyotes looking like a bunch of misfits. Smith did draw a goalie interference penalty on King early in the period. The Romanian judge gave Smith a 9.5 on the dive. However it wasn’t enough for Smith to qualify for the Olympics in London later this summer. The Coyotes failed to score on the power play, and the frustration grew. Derek Morris took a kneeing penalty on Rob Scuderi. Morris was trying to reenact Ulf Samuelsson’s fatal blow on Cam Neely in the 1991 playoffs, but Scuderi was fine after the hit. Then Martin Hanzal delivered a horrible hit from behind on Brown. Hanzal did receive a five-minute major and a game misconduct. He will most likely get an unpleasant phone call from Brendan Shanahan tomorrow to talk about his misdeeds. The Kings took advantage as Carter completed his hat trick to put this game to bed.
The series now shifts to the noisy Staples Centre on Thursday night, as the Kings have the Coyotes on the ropes. The question is, do the Coyotes want to play hockey? Or are they going to continue with the sideshow antics? If it is the latter, this will be a very short series.
1. Jeff Carter
2. Jonathan Quick
3. Anze Kopitar