Kings crush Blues, Devils ground Flyers

The giant-killing Los Angeles Kings pushed the St. Louis Blues to the brink of elimination with a 4-2 victory at home on Thursday in Game Three of their Western Conference semi-final.

Buoyant after successive wins on the road, the eighth-seeded Kings scored through Justin Williams, Dwight King, Mike Richards and Drew Doughty to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series.

Stewart scored his second of the night early in the third period before Doughty sealed the win for the rampant Kings with a slap shot.

The Kings, who upset the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks in the first round, will aim to sweep the second-seeded Blues in Game Four in Los Angeles on Saturday.

In the Eastern Conference, Alexei Ponikarovsky scored late in overtime to earn the New Jersey Devils a 4-3 home victory over the Philadelphia Flyers and a 2-1 lead in their semi-final.

Left wing Ponikarovsky, who assisted in New Jersey's second goal of the game, struck with a backhanded shot on his own rebound with 2:39 remaining to put the Devils in control of the best-of-seven series.

Devils goal-tender Martin Brodeur produced a gritty performance with 25 saves to shade Philadelphia's Ilya Bryzgalov, who made 27 at the other end.

"Winning this game in overtime is a big plus," Brodeur told reporters. "We play another big one and we can really put the pressure on them in the next game if we play well. It's a good team on the other side."

Matt Carle tied it for the Flyers in the second period before Zach Parise's wrist shot for the Devils in the third was matched by Philadelphia's Danny Briere, who chipped a rebound over Brodeur's pads, to take the game into overtime.

The Devils, who had scored four third period goals to blow away the Flyers 4-1 on Tuesday and level the series, killed off two penalties in overtime and outshot the Flyers 31-28 in Game Three.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Ian Ransom)