Photo: The Arizona Republic
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Los Angeles looks like a hockey team that cannot be stopped.
The Kings turned in another stellar performance Tuesday night at Jobing.com Arena, taking Game 2 against the Phoenix Coyotes 4-0 and stealing the first two road games for a third consecutive series.
For the second straight game, the Coyotes found themselves playing more defense than offense. Phoenix struggled to establish any offensive momentum throughout the game.
"[We] got outcompeted again, outbattled [and] didn't penetrate the middle of the ice at all," said Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith. "We haven't played near the capability of our team."
Los Angeles did not have that problem, getting plenty of chances against Smith. Turnovers in the defensive zone continued to plauge Phoenix, and the Kings forecheck continued to dominate a struggling Coyotes defense.
What is worse for Phoenix is that Martin Hanzal and Shane Doan both recieved major penalties for boarding and could both face suspensions from the NHL for Game 3 and possibly beyond. Doan shoved Trevor Lewis into the boards in the 2nd period with Hanzal taking out Dustin Brown into the boards during the 3rd period.
Like in the first game, the Kings struck first. Drew Doughty's easy wrist shot from the right point deflected off of Dwight King in front and past Smith to give the Kings the 1-0 lead. Phoenix had some spurts in that first period, but the Coyotes were ultimately unsuccessful.
In the second period, Jeff Carter struck for his second goal of the playoffs and first of the night, just under five minutes into the period.
Carter, who the Kings acquired at the trade deadline from the Columbus Blue Jackets, was not done yet. The Doan boarding penalty and Daymond Langkow's slashing penalty coincided, giving the Kings a 5 on 3 late in the 2nd period. The LA power play, which has been anemic throughout the playoffs, finally broke through, as Anze Kopitar's shot deflected off Carter in front to give the Kings a commanding 3-0 lead.
In the third period, Hanzal's boarding penalty was followed by a Derek Morris kneeing penalty, giving the Kings another 5 on 3. A Kings shot deflected off Smith and the rebound came right to Carter, who buried the puck for the hat trick.
Jonathan Quick posted his second playoff shutout, stopping 24 shots on the night, although he was not challenged as much as Smith, who stopped 36 of the Kings 40 shots.
The Coyotes frustration came out in the third period with plenty of scrums all over the ice. The team showed a rare lack of discipline.
"It's frustrating not winning; not being able to do the things you want to do," said Phoenix Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett.
Smith believes the Coyotes are not where they need to be right now for a team that is in the conference finals.
"As you get deeper in the playoffs, your expectations raise and the compete level goes up," said Smith. "So far I don't think our group has upped our compete level to where it needs to be."
"I don't know whether we're just happy to be here in the conference finals or what it is, but we definitely need to look around at each other," said Smith. "It's such an honor to play in the playoffs and especially in the conference final, that when you get here, you want to make sure you give everything that you have and that you don't leave anything on the table."
With the win, the Kings improve to (7-0) on the road this postseason.
Down 2-0, the Coyotes head to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Thurdsay night. Phoenix does have an impressive (4-1) record on the road in the playoffs, but it will take a herculean effort to top the Kings in this series.