Drew Doughty posted a goal and two assists to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of this Western Conference semifinal series.
The Kings, seeded eighth, now hold a 3-0 lead in this best-of-seven series and can become the first team to advance to the conference finals when they host Game 4 on Sunday afternoon.
Vezina Trophy candidate Jonathan Quick stopped 18 shots while Mike Richards added a goal and an assist for Los Angeles, which has not played in a conference final since advancing to the Cup finals in 1993.
"A lot of guys in this locker room have elevated their game," said Doughty. "It hasn't been easy for this team. We've had a lot of adversity this season. But the guys have stuck together and we're all playing really good at the right time."
Chris Stewart scored both goals while Brian Elliott gave up all four goals on 22 shots for the Blues, who face a big hole to climb out of if they want to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2001.
"We thought it might be seven games when the series started and that's what it's going to take now," said Stewart. "We still feel we're a better team than they are."
The only goal of the first period belonged to the Kings as Justin Williams' turnaround shot from the right circle was going wide, but it hit off of Elliott's leg and crept across the goalline at the 13:33 mark.
Quick stopped four shots in the first period to keep St. Louis off the board, but the Blues scored just 1:13 into the second to tie the game.
Kris Russell grabbed the puck in his own end and skated into the LA zone through the middle. He then dished the puck over to the left and Stewart snuck it past Quick on the short side.
The Kings got the lead back just 40 seconds later when Dwight King caught up to the puck near the right circle and flicked a quick shot past Elliott for his first career playoff goal.
Skating on the power play, Los Angeles made it a 3-1 game as Richards snuck a shot in from a sharp angle at the right side with 9:31 to play in the frame.
The Blues cut the deficit to one just 4:35 into the third. A shot from Alex Pietrangelo from the outside left circle was stopped, but Stewart was fighting in front and on a good effort was able to get his stick on the rebound and sweep it in.
Los Angeles, though, answered less than four minutes later when Richards skated in down the right wing and pulled up at the circle before passing it to the slot and Doughty's slap shot trickled between the pads.
Quick made nine saves in the third to give the Kings the commanding series lead.
It is the second straight series that the Kings have gone up 3-0. In the opening round, they dispatched the top-seeded Canucks in five games...The Kings went 1-for-5 on the power play while St. Louis was 0-for-2...Dustin Brown leads the Kings with nine points in the playoffs, but was held off the scoresheet on Thursday...Richards also had a fight in the game to complete the "Gordie Howe" hat trick.