Dustin Penner scored the game winning goal with 2:18 remaining in the first overtime period to give the Los Angeles Kings a 4-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The win lifts the Kings to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1993, and the second appearance all time in franchise history. Penner scored off the rebound of a Jeff Carter shot on goal, drilling the puck over the shoulder of Phoenix goalie Mike Smith. The Kings with the win await the winner of the Rangers – Devils Eastern Conference Final. The Stanley Cup Final will open Wednesday, May 30th in either New York or New Jersey, which is just fine with the LA Kings who have set a record in reaching the championship round going 8-0 on the road this post season.
The game featured a combined 92 shots on goal, with the Kings taking 51 of them. Smith made 47 saves for the Coyotes, but needed the 48th and maybe one or two more to keep the Coyotes alive in these playoffs. Jonathan Quick made 38 saves in goal for the Kings, who gave up three goals for only the second time this post season. In fact, the Coyotes two goals in the second period were the most LA has given up in a single period since the playoffs began over a month ago. The game would however end on a note of controversy as the Coyotes Michal Rozsival collided with Kings Captain Dustin Brown with 2:32 remaining in the overtime period. Many of the Coyotes players took some exception to this and the officials had to do their best to keep a full scale brawl from breaking out.
Game Summary- The Coyotes opened the scoring with a power play goal just 4:20 into the contest as Taylor Pyatt tipped in Martin Hanzal’s slap shot past Quick to give Phoenix an early one goal lead. Later in the period the Coyotes on another power play would give the goal back to the Kings as Anze Kopitar would tip in Drew Doughty’s slap shot off of a faceoff to tie the game at 1-1 with just under nine minutes remaining. Late in the first period Coyotes goalie Smith would take a hard slap shot to the face by Brown, however was okay despite maybe having his bell rung a little bit. Smith would take a second puck to the mask from a Doughty slap shot early in the second period.
Marc-Antoine Pouliot would wrist a puck past Quick with 13:40 remaining in the second period to restore the Coyotes one goal lead. Again however the desert dogs could not make the lead stand up as Doughty would later drill a slap shot from the point that beat Smith to tie the game for a second time. A couple of minutes later Los Angeles would take the lead as Mike Richards took the rebound of a Penner wrist shot and knocked it past Smith, twice. Unfortunately for the Kings, only the first one would count but it would be enough to give the Kings the lead back at 3-2 with 6:17 remaining in the period. However, leads in this game only would last as long as snow cone on a Phoenix sidewalk in the summertime. The Coyotes on a break way with 3:37 remaining in the period managed to get the break that evened the game when a pass from Pyatt would deflect of Keith Yandle’s shin and go into the net before Quick could adjust to where the puck was going. The goal was ruled to be “good” as Yandle made no kicking motion towards the puck as it was clear the rubber biscuit had just missed his stick.
The final period turned out to be a battle of the net minders as Smith made 13 saves for Phoenix while his counterpart Quick was fairly busy, making 16 saves of how own. This would continue into the overtime period as the LA defense tightened up and held the Coyotes to just six shots on goal while the Kings managed 11 before Penner’s game winner. The Phoenix fans in showing their appreciation for the controversy involving Roszival and Brown just before the game winning goal a mere 14 seconds later pelted the celebrating Kings with trash, soda and beer cups, heaving a lot of debris onto the ice. For a brief moment it seemed as if the Coyotes faithful basically were on the verge of turning the Jobing.com arena into Detroit on a Saturday Night. The handshakes at the end of the game were somewhat hostile as Coyotes Captain Shane Doan let many of the Kings players know what he had thought about what had just transpired (a true Claude Lemieux moment). Meanwhile Penner left the crowd at the Jobing.com arena nothing but a bunch of unwanted pancakes to digest.
Rangers vs Devils: The Eastern Conference Finals resume Wednesday Night at Madison Square Garden in New York City as the Rangers host the cross Hudson rival New Jersey Devils in Game Five as their best of seven series. The series is currently tied at 2-2. The two teams just split two games at Prudential Center in Newark with Rangers taking Game Three by a 3-0 score this past Saturday. The Devils then drew even again Monday Night in Game Four with a dominant 4-1 victory to even the series. In both Rangers wins, goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been stellar in net in completely shutting down the New Jersey attack along with help from a stingy Rangers defense. In New Jersey’s Game Four win Monday Night, Zach Parise scored twice and Devil’s goalie Martin Brodeur made 28 saves to deny the Rangers from taking a commanding two game lead in the series while drawing even.
By The Time They Get Out of Phoenix- The Los Angeles Kings right now know they are going to one of two places to start the Stanley Cup Final on May 30th. The Kings probably do not have a preference as to whom they are going to play in the Finals. Right about now they are just hoping to get the next flight out of Phoenix, and take that one hour ride back to Southern California in style. The Kings are also hoping the the Eastern Conference Finals go seven games, with the seventh game going triple overtime. If it does, the Los Angeles Kings are this years team of destiny.
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