That is it! It is all over. The series every Southern Califiornia hockey fan wanted to see has a winner and it is your Los Angeles Kings. LA beat the Anaheim
Mighty Ducks 6-2 in a lopsided affair that took the Pacific Division winners out of the game. Jonathan Quick was huge for LA with 25 saves on 27 shots.
Both teams had a battle on their hands… for four and a half minutes. The Ducks came out slamming LA with bone-crushing checks, but early on, Anaheim’s Ben Lovejoy took a horrible penalty which started their downfall. Justin Williams was once again huge in a Game 7. He was able to get the puck to the back of the net on assists from Mike Richards and Slava Voynov. John Gibson, Anaheim’s goalie, was clearly not ready for this elimination game.
A few minutes later, Jeff Carter took a lead pass from Marian Gaborik. The Ducks were there, but could not get to the puck without a penalty. Carter, knowing he was in a win/win situation, pushed on to go one-on-one with Gibson. The rookie goalie in his third ever NHL game (all in the Stanley Cup Playoffs), was no match for #77 as Carter scored his fourth of the playoffs.
Things got interesting when Drew Doughty slashed Corey Perry on a breakaway which resulted in a penalty shot. Well, as much as the Anaheim’s fans were excited, they forgot about Quick who shut down Perry with a poke check and was unable to get any shot off.
The Kings then solidified their authority in the first period with a rebound goal from Mike Richards. You read that correctly. On a charge to the net, Dwight King shot it past two Ducks defenders. Those defenders were holding Richards when they let off to get at King. Richards slipped by them and was in perfect position to get the put back and three goal lead over Anaheim.
The second period was a little better for Anaheim, but really it was worse. Two minutes in, Anze Kopitar wristed one into the net from the left circle looked way to easy. That fourth goal sent Gibson to the bench and Jonas Hiller in to try to salvage any type of comeback. Well, twelve minutes later, on a power play, Gaborik was in the right place at the right time when he slipped one past Hiller. Did I mention the Ducks had did a little better? That occurred when Kyle Palmieri kept the Ducks alive with a laser into the bottom left corner. At that point it was 5-1, Kings.
The Ducks pressured in the third, but only managed one goal, credit to Perry. A 5-2 game brought the Honda Center to its feet, but ten minutes later, a perfectly placed pass from Carter to Tanner Pearson got the puck in an open net and the Kings into the Western Conference Finals.
No one believed that the Kings are “built for the playoffs”. Now maybe people will listen. This was the sixth elimination game victory for Los Angeles in these playoffs, the third game they won on the road in this series and now boast a 4 to 3 advantage, all-time, in the playoffs over Anaheim.
Despite the Kings beating the Anaheim, badly, they showed a ton of respect after the game with a hockey salute to Teemu Selanne. Respect.
Now LA is off to Chicago for a rematch of last year’s Conference Finals. This is the first time two teams have had a WCF rematch since 2000 when the Colorado Avalanche took on the Dallas Stars. It all starts again on Sunday, new opponent, same goal.
Go Kings Go.