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One Down, Three To Go?


 

The Kings celebrate their victory over the Coyotes in Game One of the Western Conference Finals.

Until the end of the Western Conference Game One, the matchup between the Kings and Coyotes in Phoenix was as tightly played as most of us suspected. Unyielding defenses, opportunistic offenses and lockdown Penalty Kill units were on display for both teams. Save for a couple of uncharacteristic lapses in judgement on behalf of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, the order of the night was wide open action, heavy doses of hits and a full on assault by all Kings lines resulting in a 4-2 win by the Kings who continue to stun the Hockey world in the playoffs.

 

Dominating from the drop of the puck to open the game, the Kings looked for all intents and purposes to be in Blitz mode, firing shots from everywhere, harassing Coyotes goalie Mike Smith and outshooting the Coyotes 48-27 by the end of the game. Led by young winger Dwight King’s 2 goals, the Kings traded goals until the third period where it became all Kings, all the time. If the Kings were trying to dispel the notion that (deservedly is justified looking at their regular season numbers) they’re a defend first, shoot later squad, the Coyotes got a taste of a team that seemed to have entered the playoffs by a whisker and turned a corner, flipped a switch or whatever analogy you’d like to insert here. Who can argue when you look at a team that has done what no other #8 seed has ever done in the history of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by upending both a #1 and #2 seed. Not to mention, these guys have turned into literal Road Warriors, not dropping a single road game in the playoffs to this point.

 

The Coyotes Derek Morris seemingly took advantage of Quick 13 minutes into the 1st period firing a shot from near center ice that snuck past his right pad to tie the game. To be fair, Quick hadn’t faced a lot of shots to that point in the first as the Coyotes spent the majority of their time in their own zone or center ice, getting a total of 4 shots on goal to the Kings 17. In the second period, the Coyotes took advantage of Quick being out of position when he tried to play a puck beside the net, got mired in traffic that was charging down the ice to play said puck and got beat by a smart play from Shane Doan getting the puck out from behind the net to a waiting and wide open Mikkel Boedker who buried the puck while Quick was still trying to get in position.

 

The two teams faced each other 6 times in the regular season and split the difference at 3 wins and losses a piece, and half of the games were decided in Overtime. Familiarity with each other? You bet, and it showed during the game as well as it didn’t take long for things to start getting chippy with scrums breaking out early and often throughout the evening. This writer thinks this is a sign of things to come as an exciting rivalry explodes in the deserts of Arizona and the streets of Los Angeles. Game Two is Tuesday night!

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