Justin Williams,  Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown, Rob Scuderi, Anze Kopitar, Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Tale of the Tape: Kings vs. Coyotes

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On Sunday, the Phoenix Coyotes will host the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals (3:00 pm ET, NBC). The Kings are up 3-0 in the series; here’s a look at recent history between the two clubs.

Leading scorers

Los Angeles: Dustin Brown (7G-8A-15PTS) | Phoenix: Antoine Vermette (5G-4A-9PTS)

Starting goalies

Los Angeles: Jonathan Quick (11-1, 1.41 GAA) | Phoenix: Mike Smith (8-6, 2.02 GAA)

Head-to-head

Season series tied 3-3

Oct. 20: Los Angeles 2 at Phoenix 0
Oct. 29: at Phoenix 3, Los Angeles 2 (OT)
Dec. 26: at Los Angeles 4, Phoenix 3
Jan. 5: at Los Angeles 1, Phoenix 0 (OT)
Feb. 16: at Phoenix 1, Los Angeles 0
Feb. 21: at Phoenix 5, Los Angeles 4 (SO)

Game 1: Los Angeles 4, Phoenix 2

Two gaffes by Jonathan Quick (particularly a center ice goal given up to Derek Morris) made the score deceptively close. The Kings dominated much of the play, carrying a 48-27 shot advantage. Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown were their usual impact-making selves, but Dwight King’s two goals ended up being a sign of things to come. This was one of the best Kings’ performances of the playoffs and probably their best team effort of an impressive series.

Game 2: Los Angeles 4, Phoenix 0

While Game 1 was deceptively close, the Kings weren’t as great as the score indicated. Instead, the Coyotes were guilty of a series of self-inflicted wounds, particularly during the second period when they took some uncharacteristically undisciplined penalties. Shane Doan was ejected for boarding Trevor Lewis (which didn’t result in further discipline) while Martin Hanzal was thrown out for boarding Dustin Brown (which netted him a suspension). Amid the carnage, Jonathan Quick (24 saves) had a relatively quiet shutout while Jeff Carter scored his first career playoff hat trick and the Kings’ first playoff trio since Wayne Gretzky did it in 1993.

Game 3: Los Angeles 2, Phoenix 1

This contest was more along the lines of what people expected from this series, but the results weren’t any more positive for the Coyotes. Daymond Langkow scored to give Phoenix its first lead of the series but Anze Kopitar only needed about two minutes to tie it up 1-1. Dwight King continued his improbable playoff success with an unexpectedly gorgeous game-winning goal. Meanwhile, a few questionable penalties left Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett livid.

Injuries/suspensions

Los Angeles: Scott Parse (hip), Kevin Westgarth (hand) and Simon Gagne (concussion).

Phoenix: Adrian Aucoin (undisclosed) and Raffi Torres (suspended).

Backes scores OT goal on his birthday, Blues even up series with Stars

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The St. Louis Blues won’t be thrilled with the way they played in the third period, but in the end, they did just enough to come away with a 4-3 overtime win over the Dallas Stars in Game 2. The Blues’ win means that the series will head to St. Louis tied 1-1.

The Stars opened the scoring in the first period, but the Blues responded by scoring three unanswered goals (Patrik Berglund, Joel Edmundson, Troy Brouwer) on five shots. Stars coach Lindy Ruff had seen enough from starter Kari Lehtonen at that point. He yanked Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi at the start of the second period.

Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the second period, but things got crazy in the third.

With his team still trailing 3-1, Mattias Janmark split Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko before scoring a great goal.

Moments after Janmark’s goal, Brian Elliott took a Jason Spezza blast off the mask. Elliott was shaken up on the play (he even lost one of his contact lenses), but he did stay in the game.

Stars captain Jamie Benn (surprise, surprise) leveled the score by burying a goal by Brian Elliott with under three minutes in regulation.

Like they did during their first round series against Chicago, the Blues took some time to regroup before finding a way to get the job done.

The Blues’ power play went back to work after Antoine Roussel took his third penalty of the game. That’s when the birthday boy, David Backes, came through.

That’s a nice way to celebrate your 32nd birthday.

Game 3 goes Tuesday night in St. Louis.

 

Jamie Benn’s late goal sends Game 2 to overtime

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This definitely wasn’t the way the St. Louis Blues drew it up.

The Blues entered the third period of Game 2 with a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately for them, they weren’t able to shut the game down on the road.

St. Louis jumped ahead 3-1 after 20 minutes before Dallas decided to pull Kari Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi. The move didn’t provide any results in the middle frame, but something certainly sparked the Stars in the third period.

Mattias Janmark cut the deficit to 3-2 with this beauty (notice how he split Colton Parayko and Alex Pietrangelo).

With less than three minutes remaining in regulation, Stars captain Jamie Benn tied it up (top).

It’s safe to say this wasn’t a memorable third period for the Blues.

Video: Brian Elliott takes a blast off the mask, stays in the game

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A bit of a scary moment in the third period of Game 2 between the Stars and Blues.

Less than five minutes into the third period, Jason Spezza took a shot that caught Blues goalie Brian Elliott square in the mask. Play was halted as Elliott remained down. It appears as though the shot to the mask also made Elliott lose one of his contacts.

Thankfully, Elliott wasn’t seriously injured on the play. After being examined by the team doctor, he was allowed to stay into the game. He did need a new mask though (he got his original one back a few minutes later).

You can watch the play by clicking the video at the top of the page.

The Blues currently lead 3-2 late in the third period.

Here’s some Twitter reaction:

 

Lehtonen only lasts one period in Game 2

Lehtonen
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Kari Lehtonen might have been more hit than miss in the playoffs going into today’s action, but Game 2 against St. Louis was certainly a start he’d like to forget.

Dallas outshot St. Louis 10-5 in the first frame, but the Blues still managed to take a 3-1 lead. Antti Niemi replaced Lehtonen for the second period which means, barring another goalie change, Lehtonen will actually end up with a sub-.500 save percentage this afternoon.

The numbers obviously look bad and it’s hard not to blame Lehtonen in the face of that, but the Blues deserve a lot of the credit for those goals. Patrik Berglund had a great shot on goal for the first marker, Joel Edmundson‘s first career playoff goal came after a nice setup by Troy Brouwer, and when Brouwer collected his own goal it was off of a rebound during a power play.

So to an extent, you could say Lehtonen looked bad due to circumstances that were very unfavorable to him. Nevertheless, the Stars needed to shake things up after what was unquestionably a bad period for them.