Kings Beat Blues For Series Sweep, When captain Dustin Brown crunched Alex Pietrangelo with a hit along the boards in the opening minutes, the Los Angeles Kings knew they hadn’t lost whatever fire has driven them deep into the playoffs.
The eighth-seeded Kings are a team transformed, executing against St. Louis with all the precision, passion and consistency that eluded them for much of an erratic regular season.
And now these late bloomers are one win away from emerging in the Western Conference finals.
Drew Doughty had a goal and two assists, Jonathan Quick made 18 saves and the Kings moved to the brink of an unlikely second-round sweep with a 4-2 victory over the Blues in Game 3 on Thursday night.
Mike Richards scored Los Angeles’ first power play goal in six games before setting up Doughty’s clinching goal with 11:48 to play for the Kings, who methodically improved to 7-1 in the postseason with their third straight dominant win over second-seeded St. Louis.
“When you have success, you gain confidence, and we’ve been playing the same system and the same style for a while now,” Richards said. “We’re maybe a little surprised it’s going like this, but we knew going into every game we have a chance to win.”
And they just keep doing it with remarkable efficiency and style. Los Angeles has four chances to clinch its first trip to the conference finals since 1993.
Game 4 is Sunday.
“Things are going well because guys are working hard,” said Justin Williams, who scored the Kings’ first goal shortly after Brown’s hit tilted the ice in Los Angeles’ favor. “Guys are paying the price and doing every little thing. We’re certainly not looking ahead just yet, but we’ve fought hard to get this position, and now we’re one game away from getting to the conference championship.”
Rookie Dwight King also scored, while Anze Kopitar had two assists in just the Kings’ second home playoff victory in their last eight games at Staples Center. The Kings barely scraped into the playoffs last month, but after eliminating Presidents’ Trophy-winning Vancouver in the first round, they followed up two series-opening victories in St. Louis with another fundamentally sound effort in front of Quick.
“They’re full marks,” St. Louis coach Ken Hitchc**k said. “They’re on top of their game, and they have been for a while now.”
Chris Stewart scored two goals and Brian Elliott stopped 18 shots in a shaky performance for the Blues, who must accomplish the fourth comeback from an 0-3 deficit in NHL playoff history to advance. (AP)