Champs Moving On After Striking Final Chord Against Blues; Kings Win Series 4-2


Western Quarter Final, Game 6: Kings Win 2-1, LA wins series 4-2

LOS ANGELES -If the first two games of this series were any indication, the Los Angeles Kings weren’t going to end up just like the defending champions of the last few years: eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs having lost their first two games to the St. Louis Blues. Worse, the critics were simply salivating at the idea that the Kings were lucky last spring having not been a skilled team but simply a flash in the pan that got hot at just the right time. Little did any of said critics take into account that the Kings had yet to play on home ice where they were so dominant during the regular season. If only the skeptics stopped to think.

Once this series shifted to the City of Angels for Game 3, the defending champions began to turn things around. That`s not to suggest that they weren`t good in the first two games of the series but anyone could tell that the Los Angeles offense wasn’t living up to their postseason potential.

May 10, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Tyler Toffoli (73) hugs defenseman Drew Doughty (8) after a goal in the first period of game six of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Despite winning 1-0 in Game 3 thanks to a mastery performance by Jonathan Quick, the Kings were still lacking that extra something up front.

After coming from behind in Game 4, the Kings were outplayed for much of the night in St. Louis for Game 5 but were up to the task leading 2-1 heading into the final minute of regulation. But in the final minute, Alex Pietrangelo scored to bring the Scottrade Center back to life and send the game to overtime. Despite letting their lead slip away, the Kings won in overtime thanks to Slava Voynov‘s winner and that set the stage for Game 6 back at Staples Center with the Kings determine to close out the series.

In Game 6, Drew Doughty opened the scoring with his first of the playoffs. The Blues, though, stayed strong as Roman Polak tied the game with a point shot that found its way past Quick. But with just a fraction of a second remaining in the second, Dustin Penner teed up a shot that eluded Brian Elliott and put the Kings back out in front, giving the home side all the momentum heading into the third.

In third, the Kings (with the lead) were now in prime position to win the series with their defense and goaltending – and that`s just what they did, shutting down the Blues` attack in the final 20 minutes en route to winning a series that was as tough as most anticipated with all hard-hitting generated by both sides.

So, for the second-straight year, the Los Angeles Kings not only eliminate the St. Louis Blues but they win four-in-a-row against them (albeit this year`s series wasn`t a sweep) – but no matter. The defending champs needed some time to regain their playoff form but they are now a very confident bunch heading into Round 2 where it will be a Battle of California. The only question is left is who the Kings will be playing: the Anaheim Ducks or the San Jose Sharks. But that will be determined after Sunday night.

For now, it`s a time to be happy (albeit not satisfied) in Los Angeles. The Kings are through and ready to take on whichever club in the round of eight.