Los Angeles Kings 4, Phoenix Coyotes 0 (LA leads the series, 2-0)
Those Who Shined
1. Jeff Carter, Center, Los Angeles Kings
Columbus Blue Jackets fans likely had to shield their eyes Tuesday night, as Jeff Carter repeatedly snuck into the weak areas of the Phoenix defense to propel the Kings to a two-game advantage in the series. Carter put together Los Angeles’ first playoff hat-trick in 19 years, which nearly doubled his point output from the entire postseason. Two of his tallies came on the power play after the Coyotes experienced an uncharacteristically messy game. The Kings have struggled in the playoffs to convert on the power play, but when a club is given eight chances in a game, it’s hard to keep them off the board. Carter now has seven points on four goals and three assists. I would say that his continued success is important, but let’s be honest, no one is beating the Kings right now — with, or without Carter.
2. Jonathan Quick, Goaltender, Los Angeles Kings
Wow. Jonathan Quick continues to solidify himself as the best netminder in the 2012 postseason — and that’s saying something given the plethora of talent remaining at the position. Quick stopped all 24 shots that he faced Tuesday and helped in killing four Phoenix power play chances to complete his second shutout of the playoffs. This performance improved his record to an unmatched 10-1 with a goals against average of just 1.45. To put his numbers into perspective, understand that he has faced over 300 shots from opposing clubs and just 16 have found the back of the net — a save percentage above 95 percent. If the Coyotes can’t score, they can’t win. That was obviously the case Tuesday night.
3. Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings
I don’t mean to be repetitive, but remember when I said the Kings would win this series because of the play of these two men? Well, after posting two goals in game one, the deadly combination changed their focus to facilitating the offense in game two. Kopitar captured two assists Tuesday night, while Brown was right behind him with one. The six points they have recorded have been of high importance to Los Angeles’ offensive success and a primary reason for the 2-0 lead. Overall, they have combined for 27 points in the postseason — the highest number of any duo remaining, despite playing in less games than each other team. Phoenix has a long list of issues to fix moving forward, including how to slow does this two-headed monster.