Los Angeles Kings 4, Phoenix Coyotes 2 (LA leads the series, 1-0)
Those Who Shined
1. The Brown and Kopitar Combo
Look back at my series preview and you’ll see that I forecasted a successful series for the Kings due in large part to this two-headed scoring attack. And, thankfully, they didn’t let me down in game one. Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar combined for 3 points, two of four goals and 13 shots on target, which was instrumental in another impressive performance from Los Angeles. The two men have now tallied 24 points in 10 games and rank first and second on the club in goals and assists in the postseason. Listen closely Phoenix; find a way to stop these guys or you’re in big, big trouble moving forward.
2. The Kings Hotel Staff in Phoenix
After picking up a sixth straight postseason road victory, I’ve decided to step away from the ice to point out those that are really behind the Kings success. I don’t know who they are, or where to find them; but, the kind folks at whatever Phoenix hotel that is hosting the team need to be thanked for their remarkable service. I mean, Los Angeles has now outscored opponents 22-11 on the road and they appear unbeatable in what are typically the most difficult situations. So, just another word of advice for the Coyotes: if you hope to win the series, maybe aim for a bit of sabotage at your nearest Holiday Inn.
3. Mike Smith, Goaltender, Phoenix Coyotes
I know, I know. Obviously Jonathan Quick was the winning goaltender so it seems a bit silly to pick the loser as my third and final star of the night. However, the Coyotes’ Mike Smith was abused all night by an aggressive Kings offense (including being outshot 17-4 in the opening period) and still maintained a respectable final line on the scorecard. Smith sent away 40 of 44 shots, which is a respectable 93.6 save percentage — a number that is quite a bit higher than Quick’s 92.6 percent. In the end, it came down to significantly more chances to score for Los Angeles, as Phoenix only put together 27 shots on goal. It’s hard to expect anything too stellar from a netminder when he gets so little support on the other end of the ice.