The Los Angeles Kings (44-26-6) have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fifth straight season with a 4-0 shutout over division rival, the Phoenix Coyotes (36-27-13). After a disappointing 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild two nights ago, LA came into this game ready to not only prove that the previous contest was a fluke, but to also show that they are ready for the playoffs. Point proven.
The Kings came out strong from the opening face-off. The first period was all Los Angeles. The Kings proved that with Tanner Pearson’s opening goal. One minute and twenty seconds into the game, LA was utilizing one of their aggressive possessions to put the squeeze on Phoenix. Jeff Carter caught an open Pearson for the goal and like that, it was 1-0, Kings.
There were no goals in the remainder of the period, but it was obvious who was in control. LA had an advantage on shots (7-5), hits (16-13) and face-offs (10-8) to end the first period. But visually, you could tell LA was a whole lot more prepared for this game than Phoenix.
LA got a second goal by way of some great vision by the LA’s power play crew. If five-on-five play showed that the Kings were toying with the Coyotes, than being up a man was just downright unfair. Great passing, great connections and a sweet pump fake from Drew Doughty got Coyotes goalie Thomas Greiss off his axis and unable to react to the unexpected shot. LA went up 2-0, but they did not rest at that point as they kept the pressure on. They were so efficient, they were checking each other. Literally.
Whenever the Coyotes got the puck, they could manage, at the most, maybe three shots per possession. Los Angeles would not allow anything more than that. The completely shut down Phoenix in the second period.
Once again, LA lead the middle frame in shots (15-7) and hits (15-5).
It did not stop in the third. Phoenix tried their darnedest to get back in the game, but could not break through the Kings puck possession. It proved positive for LA almost ten minutes in when Carter got a boost on a break away from Pearson to get the three-goal lead over the Coyotes with a wrister off the right-side of Greiss.
— Kings Vision (@KingsVision) April 3, 2014
Forty seconds later, Anze Kopitar showed why he is Selke material with a shot off of Greiss’ left side. Kopitar always seems to know where to be and with this goal, he did just that as he was alone in the left circle. Completely alone.
LA is ready for the playoffs, but Phoenix, if they make it, are destined for a first-round exit if they keep playing like this.
To add to theKings’ celebration, Jonathan Quick got hit 31st career shutout. Congratulations.
Kings clinch Pacific Division’s three seed http://t.co/3ImgmPltBv
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) April 3, 2014
So, the Los Angeles Kings win and make the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It feels good.