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NHL on NBC: Kings look to sweep Coyotes

May 19, 2012, 9:50 PM EDT

Drew Doughty, Shane Doan, Willie Mitchell AP

On an unprecedented weekend at the Staples Center and for Los Angeles sports in general, the Los Angeles Kings have a chance to sweep the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 4 on Sunday (3pm ET, NBC).

After struggling to even make the postseason, the Kings have steamrolled through the playoffs so far, becoming just the sixth team and fifth franchise to start a postseason with an 11-1 record. They did it against the cream of the crop in the West, too, as they only lost once while facing the top two seeds in the conference.

Of course, the difference between the Pacific Division champion Coyotes and the two other Pacific playoff teams really came down to a week (or so) of jostling. Mike Smith and some timely scoring carried Phoenix beyond Chicago and Nashville yet it seems like the team’s magic and great play seem to be running out.

Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar are dominating, which isn’t a surprise. Seeing occasional production from Jeff Carter and Mike Richards doesn’t stand as a shock either, but Dwight King‘s emergence comes from left field. Meanwhile, the Kings’ defense remains suffocating, their forechecking is fierce and Jonathan Quick remains his dominant self.

The Coyotes get Martin Hanzal back after a Game 3 suspension, yet it seems like their top scorers Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata have been “missing” at times in their own ways. Phoenix has some defensive star power in Keith Yandle and rising prospect Oliver Ekman-Larsson along with Shane Doan‘s grizzled leadership. Those players need to be a force in Game 4 (and for the Coyotes, hopefully beyond), but it all comes down to Smith being dominant once again.

Dave Tippett wasn’t happy about the officiating in Game 3 while Darryl Sutter’s been taking the high road with a lot of the bigger discussions. It’ll be interesting to see if the Coyotes getting any “breaks” after Tippett’s controversial takes on “embellishments” in his press conference after Game 3.

Game 4 Notes:

– Dwight King has scored the same amount of goals (five) as Anze Kopitar has in the playoffs this year. Yes, seriously.
– The Kings’ power play has only connected on 9.4 percent of their chances in the postseason, but they’ve been great on the PK (93.8 percent) and outstanding five-on-five. In other words, they sport the same formula that the Boston Bruins boasted in 2011.
– In fact, Los Angeles scored almost as many shorthanded goals (four) as the Coyotes (five) and the Kings (six) have scored on the PP.
Antoine Vermette is the Coyotes’ leading scorer with just nine points in 14 postseason contests. That’s great work for the former Senators center, yet it doesn’t speak so well for his teammates.

  1. blomfeld - May 20, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    THERE’S A REASON WHY WE’RE CALLED THE KINGS !

    Unlike the rest of the NHL teams which are named after fish, birds, vermin and corrupt politicos, we LA Kings are aptly named after “royalty” ! … and as such, we ask for nothing more than the following of our team tomorrow … “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS !”

  2. bleedingteal4life - May 20, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    And just like most royalty, they lie, cheat, and scheme their way to the top. :P all joking aside, why haven’t the kings played like this all season?

    • blomfeld - May 20, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      Don’t tell me … you probably support that team which is named after a natural disaster, right ? :) … friend, I honestly haven’t a clue as to where the Kings were earlier in the year ? … I definitely did sense that something was going to happen in these playoffs for us and I’m on record for that here at PHT … but I’m also at complete loss to explain the “magnitude” of what we’re now witnessing …

  3. nyrangersfan - May 20, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Too bad the Rangers were so persistent on getting Nash at the trade deadline we could have had Brown. Man what the Rangers could have done with him! I’m still upset about that. How do you think he’d look with Callahan and Richards, Blomfeld?

    • blomfeld - May 20, 2012 at 10:16 PM

      friend … all I can say to that is “thank God” it never happened ! … there’s no question that Brown would have been a “stud” on your team … no two ways about it … but it didn’t happen and therefore let’s leave that there, eh ? :)

      ps: man do I ever hope that we Kings meet you Rangers for the cup !

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