Four-goal 1st period fuels Kings to 2-0 series lead
St. Louis, MO – Much of Los Angeles' success in the playoffs this year has been due to goaltender Jonathan Quick. They didn't need him that much on Monday night.
Anze Kopitar scored twice, while Mike Richards and Jeff Carter also scored in a four-goal first period as the Kings took a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of this Western Conference semifinal series.
Los Angeles now holds a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven series after taking both games in St. Louis and will look to take a stranglehold on Thursday in Game 3 from Los Angeles.
Justin Williams finished with a goal and an assist, while Dustin Brown added three helpers for the Kings, who are looking to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 1993.
Quick, who came into the game with a 1.49 goals against average and a .955 save percentage, allowed two goals on 29 shots in the win.
"Nothing is done yet. They have a good team, and I'm sure if we let them off the hook they can do some damage," cautioned Kopitar.
Andy McDonald and Matt D'Agostini each scored a goal for the Blues, who downed San Jose in the first round to win a playoff series for the first time since 2002. Brian Elliott allowed all five goals on 21 shots.
Los Angeles took the lead just 31 seconds into the game when Dustin Penner brought the puck to the right of the net and lost it, but it popped out to the inside right circle and Richards snapped it in for his second of the playoffs.
"They just came out firing, and we weren't ready physically or mentally," Blues forward T.J. Oshie admitted.
The score stayed that way until Los Angeles exploded for three goals in the last six minutes of the opening frame.
Skating shorthanded, good pressure from Brown resulted in a turnover from Carlo Colaiacovo in his own end. Brown grabbed the puck at the left side and passed it to the slot where Kopitar went to the forehand and slammed it in down low at the 14:16 mark.
Just over four minutes later, Carter tried to shoot it over after gaining the St. Louis blueline down the right wing, but his high shot went off of the face of Roman Polak. However, Carter got the puck back and snapped a shot into the net for his first of the playoffs.
It was 4-0 with 16.8 seconds to play in the opening frame. A shot from the left circle by Brown was stopped, but the rebound came to the low portion of the circle. From there, Williams grabbed the puck and sent a turnaround pass to the slot where Kopitar snapped it home.
St. Louis tried to get some momentum as the team scored just 18 seconds into the second period when McDonald redirected a David Backes pass down low, but the Kings scored just 1:08 later when Williams scored on a backhand from in front for his first of the playoffs.
D'Agostini scored for the Blues 5:16 into the third, but St. Louis was unable to cut any further into its deficit.
The team was given a pair of 5-on-3s late in the third period, including one that lasted 95 seconds, but Quick made a nice left pad save on a Jason Arnott shot down low to kill any chance of St. Louis mounting a comeback.
Los Angeles moved to 5-0 on the road in these playoffs...The game matched a season-high in goals scored for the Kings, and goals allowed for the Blues...Brown had two goals and two assists while shorthanded in these playoffs. He is the first player to have four shorthanded points in the playoffs since Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg posted five points (2g, 3a) in the 2008 postseason...The last time the Kings scored four goals in a period during the playoffs was May 7, 1993 in the third period against Vancouver. It's the fourth time in team history the club has accomplished that...Jake Allen made his NHL-debut in net for St. Louis in the third period, but it was shortlived and uneventful as it lasted just 1:07 and he didn't face a shot...Brown has four goals and five assists in the playoffs to move into a tie for third place in points...McDonald has five goals in the playoffs...This is the third time these two clubs are meeting in the postseason. St. Louis swept the two previous series in 1998 and 1969...St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo did not play. He was a game-time decision after getting injured in Game 1 after his head hit the boards on a hit from Kings forward Dwight King. Ian Cole took Pietrangelo's place in the lineup and skated close to 11 minutes.