The Phoenix Coyotes will try to rebound from a bad start in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals, as they host the Los Angeles Kings in tonight's Game 2 at Jobing.com Arena.
The third-seeded Coyotes played the first conference final game in franchise history on Sunday night and were dealt a 4-2 loss by the Kings, who are the eighth seed despite finishing only two points behind Phoenix for this season's Pacific Division title.
Kings captain Dustin Brown scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and Jonathan Quick made 25 saves to allow Los Angeles to hold on for the 1-0 series lead. With the victory, L.A. improved to 9-1 this postseason and the club is a perfect 6-0 on the road. The NHL record for consecutive road playoff wins in one postseason is seven and was last achieved by Chicago in 2010.
The Kings are in the conference finals for the first time since 1993 after beating top-seeded Vancouver in five games in Round 1 and sweeping No. 2 St. Louis in the conference semifinals.
Although Los Angeles couldn't breath easy until Dwight King's empty-net goal with 48 seconds left in regulation, the Kings dominated play for most of the night and wound up outshooting Phoenix by a 48-27 margin. The game could have been a blowout if not for another stout performance by Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, who stopped 44-of-47 shots.
"I thought their whole team was better than our team. We weren't close in that game. We got beat in every facet," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. "Hopefully we can take some lessons and be better."
King scored twice for the L.A., while Anze Kopitar also added a goal in the Game 1 victory. Quick, meanwhile, rebounded nicely after allowing a brutal goal from center-ice in the first period.
Quick, a Vezina Trophy finalist, let Derek Morris' center-ice slap shot from the right boards flutter in to tie the game at 1-1 in the first period.
"I don't think it rattled him at all," said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. "It's a rare bad goal against him and our team was resilient enough to battle through it."
The Coyotes came back from a one-goal deficit twice, but Brown scored 2:11 into the third before King salted away the victory with his empty-netter.
Mikkel Boedker also scored for the Coyotes, who find themselves trailing in a series for the first time in this postseason.
The Coyotes fell to 4-3 as the host in this year's playoffs and will try to earn a split on home ice tonight before the series shifts to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4. The Kings will host the third test of this series on Thursday.
This matchup marks the first time the Kings and Coyotes are meeting in the postseason, but the Pacific rivals did face each other six times during the 2011-12 campaign. The Kings and Coyotes split the season series and three of the meetings went past regulation.