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Kings Remain Calm, Continuing Road Run

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: May 16, 2012

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Los Angeles Kings knew the Coyotes would come at them with everything they had.

Todd Korol/Reuters

The Kings’ Jeff Carter, right, and Drew Doughty on Tuesday after Carter’s third goal.

Even when that meant some questionable hits as the frustration grew, the Kings never let it bother them.

Withstanding an early push and a series of late penalties, the Kings took control of the Western Conference finals with another dominating performance, beating the Coyotes, 4-0, Tuesday night to match a National Hockey League record with their seventh consecutive road victory in the playoffs.

Jeff Carter scored three goals, Jonathan Quick stopped 24 shots and Los Angeles will head home with a commanding series lead after flummoxing the Coyotes in two games in the desert.

“We didn’t want to do anything after the whistle,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said. “We just wanted to stay away from it. We didn’t have anything to prove that way.”

All Los Angeles wanted was the victory and the Kings got it, overwhelming the Coyotes after doing the same in Game 1, a 4-2 victory.

The Kings shook off the big hits — a couple that led to game misconducts — and continued a can’t-stop-us roll that started with a playoff push the last month of the regular season.

Dwight King scored his third goal in two games, Quick tied Felix Potvin’s team record with his third career playoff shutout and Carter finished off in the third period the Kings’ first playoff hat trick since Wayne Gretzky in 1993.

Los Angeles has won seven straight over all, tied an N.H.L. record by opening the playoffs 7-0 on the road, and matched another record by winning nine straight road playoff games over two seasons.

The Islanders won two Stanley Cup titles while winning nine straight road games from 1982-83, and the Kings are starting to look like a team that could go on a Stanley Cup run of its own.

Game 3 is scheduled to be played Thursday night in Los Angeles.

“It’s a mind-set; we get away, there’s no distractions,” Carter said. “For some reason, this team likes to play on the road.”

The Coyotes played better early and fell apart late, becoming frustrated after being unable to contain the more-skilled Kings.

Phoenix was hit with a string of penalties starting late in the second period, including a game misconduct to the captain Shane Doan for boarding Kings center Trevor Lewis. Martin Hanzal also received one for boarding Dustin Brown in the third period. The Coyotes had 13 penalties for 56 minutes — most coming after the final five minutes of the second period.

“I think the frustration level sets in,” Coyotes goalie Mike Smith said. “You’re in the penalty box that much against a team that’s in the conference finals, you’re going to pay.”

The Kings won the opener by outplaying and outhustling the Coyotes. Knowing Phoenix’s makeup, the Kings figured to get more of a pushback in Game 2.

And the Coyotes were much more aggressive early, winning some of the individual battles they lost in Game 1 while creating some decent scoring chances.

Even with all of Phoenix’s hard work and a couple of line changes by Coach Dave Tippett, the Kings still managed to score first. King scored, redirecting a shot by Drew Doughty that beat Smith to his stick side late in the period.

Hard work in the corners by Mike Richards set up Los Angeles’s second goal, by Carter. He muscled the puck past Smith’s glove side as he was going down on a feed from Dustin Penner that made it 2-0 early in the second period.

Then things unraveled for the Coyotes.

Doan, who was suspended three games for elbowing earlier in the season, was given a game misconduct and a five-minute boarding penalty for ramming Lewis from behind. Defenseman Keith Yandle was already in the penalty box and Daymond Langkow joined him after a slashing penalty, giving Los Angeles a two-man advantage for more than two minutes.

Brown was sent off for diving on a slash by Smith, but that did not bother the Kings. Carter scored his second a few seconds later on a redirect of a shot by Anze Kopitar, putting Los Angeles ahead by 3-0.

With the Coyotes racking up penalties seemingly on every shift, Carter finished them off with his fifth career hat trick, punching in a rebound with the Kings on a two-man advantage after Hanzal’s hit on Brown.

“There’s no question there’s going to be frustration, especially when you get down in a game like that, guys try to finish their checks on the edge,” Coyotes forward Taylor Pyatt said. “We’ve got to try and find some positives and get things turned around in Game 3.”

Even if they do, it may not matter the way the Kings are playing.

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