In a similar fashion to the last two series, the Kings have taken the first three games against the Phoenix Coyotes to give them a fair lead. This win is putting the Kings one step closer to the Cup final, which they haven’t been to since 1993. This also spells out trouble for their rivals, especially since game 4 is once again going to be in LA’s Staples Center. If the Kings continue to play the way they have, they might get out of the finals early with a four game sweep of the Coyotes.
However, it is not over yet. Trying to defeat a three game lead can be difficult, but it is not impossible. The Flyers forced a game 7 a couple seasons ago, and the Penguins seemed to try to emulate that spirit with their comeback in the first round series this playoff season, so it is entirely possible that the Coyotes can come back in game 4 and force a game seven. That of course means that they have to win the next three games, which will be a difficult task with the way the Kings have been playing.
While the Coyotes out shot the Kings in the first period 11-8, they could not get a puck past Quick. Then again neither could the offensive team get a puck past Smith, despite having the opportunity early in the first when Doan was in the box for a slashing minor.
The first ended scoreless, but when the second started The Coyotes got a lead when veteran Langkow scored the first goal a minute after the puck had dropped. Kopitar was right behind Langkow to tie the game a few minutes later. The Kings had learned from their mistakes in the first and were now out shooting the Coyotes again, but the second period ended at a 1-1 draw.
LA got on the board first in the last period with a 2nd and final goal by King. This goal would eventually seal the deal for the Kings, despite that they were given four power play opportunities and again out shot the Coyotes. Smith and the Coyotes defense held off any more Kings’ goals, but it proved not to be enough. The Coyotes’ forwards were unable to score again to tie the game to eventually push an overtime period.
Unlike the game 2 shutout win, game 3 was close like the first game, which is proof that the Coyotes aren’t done yet. The problem is that they are taking too many penalties which are giving the Kings some good opportunties to score and they are not shooting the puck to the net as much as they need to. The Kings have seemed to figure this out, and are managing to figure a way around the Coyotes goaltender which has lead to their successful wins. If they rectify this problem, they can still remain in the running to go up for the Cup.
There is no doubt that fans in LA are pulling our their brooms already, but this only means that the Kings cannot back down. If they really want this, they’ll play the next game like a game 7, in order to get the sweep. If they continue in their current fashion, the odds are in LA’s favor.