Kings Get Surge From Carter, Quick Dominates Coyotes 4-0
The Los Angeles Kings faced off in Phoenix, Arizona for the second straight game against the Phoenix Coyotes. After a great performance in Game 1, the Kings knew that getting up two games in the series will play very much to their advantage when the series shifts back to Los Angeles. Interestingly enough, Game 2 of this series was not nearly as close as Game 1.
Even though fans know what to expect from a forward like Jeff Carter, Kings fans were not expecting Carter's second, third and fourth postseason goals all to come in Game 2. Carter, previously on the Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers, registered a hat-trick last night in what ended up being a 4-0 shutout win.
It is clear that the Coyotes need to find an answer to the high-powered offense of the Kings. However, the Coyotes have to score on, quite possibly the most talented young goaltender in the game today, Jonathan Quick. The 26 year old goaltender is ranked first in the playoffs in save percentage with .951 and in Goals Against Average(GAA) with 1.45. The Milford, Connecticut native registered his third career shutout last night, while stopping all 24 shots the Coyotes threw at him.
The Coyotes were playing some of the most undisciplined hockey in the entire postseason(besides the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round). A team that has such a powerful offense, like the Kings, do not need to be given eight power plays. The Coyotes had a total of 56 penalty minutes, including a misconduct penalty on Antoine Vermette, the Coyotes leading scorer this postseason with five goals.
> Find a great selection of NHL Team merchandise here at ProHockey-Fans.com!
Perhaps the high number of penalties is due to the fact that the Coyotes are realizing how outmatched they are. The last time Mike Richards and Carter were one the same team, let alone the same line, they made it to the Stanley Cup Finals on the Philadelphia Flyers, but lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime.
Any team in the NHL would have trouble defending the Kings line of Carter, Richards, and Dustin Penner. Alone, all of those forwards were not doing well this season, especially when it was just Penner and Richards on the Kings. Then when Carter was acquired before the trade deadline, the Kings offense, which was suspect the entire season, became one of the top offenses in the league. The scariest part about the Kings having such a talented offense is the fact that their defense and goaltending is what the franchise was already built around.
"You have to give them credit," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. The Kings have been playing the best ice hockey throughout the playoffs. They started out by almost sweeping the President Trophy winners in the Vancouver Canucks, winning in just five games. Then, they had to face the outstanding goaltenders of the St. Louis Blues, sweeping them in four games. Now, they just beat the Coyotes twice in Phoenix, and have the possibility of sweeping them when the series shifts back to Los Angeles.
One thing is for sure, Darryl Sutter has been doing a tremendous job as head coach of the Kings. It may have taken sometime for the whole team to buy into the system, but Sutter knew the pieces he had, and constructed a perfect puzzle. The Coyotes chances at winning this series have dropped greatly since losing the first two games at home. Could the Kings sweep yet another team on their road to the Stanley Cup Finals? They are certainly good enough to win two home games, but the question remains, will they?
By: Stephen London
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer