EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Just a handful of players took the ice for practice Wednesday at Toyota Sports Center, the rest of the Los Angeles Kings were probably bathing in ice after the rough-and-tumble Game 2 victory the night before against the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz.
Just as they'd done the previous two rounds against the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues, the Kings took a two-games-to-none lead in the Western Conference final that now veers to L.A.
The day after the 4-0 victory in Game 2, Kings coach Darryl Sutter was purposely vague when discussing his team’s bumps and bruises, but indicated that everyone who played Tuesday night would be ready for Game 3 on Thursday at Staples Center.
Dustin Brown was likely the sorest of the group.
He was checked head-first into the boards by Phoenix forward Martin Hanzal midway through the third period and laid on the ice for several seconds before skating to the bench. Earlier in the game, he took a stick to the back of the legs from Phoenix goalie Mike Smith, dropping him to the ice in pain.
“It’s almost comical to watch because we think he runs on batteries sometimes,” said Kings left wing Dustin Penner. “You knock him down but you can’t keep him down. He takes a lot of punishment and he gives it out, and he has been that type of leader all year.”
The Kings did a better job of controlling their emotions than they did in their Game 2 victory in the previous series against the Blues. In both games, the Kings built sizable leads, forcing the opposition to take drastic measures.
Not only was Brown battered and likely bruised, but Trevor Lewis was also the victim of a five-minute major boarding penalty. Lewis collided so violently with the glass after he was checked from behind by Shane Doan that his visor split open the bridge of his nose.
Two minutes after Hanzal's boarding penalty on Brown, Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi was also taken down by a vicious knee-on-knee hit by Derek Morris.
Less than a minute later, Penner took the only retaliatory penalty of the game for the Kings, putting Phoenix forward Antoine Vermette in a head lock and taking him down to the ice. Both players received roughing penalties and a 10-minute misconduct.
Otherwise, the Kings showed immense poise, even scoring two power-play goals while the Coyotes were in the box.
“Nobody’s happy when those plays happen, but discipline is a huge part of the playoffs,” said rookie forward Dwight King.
Sutter did update the status of one of his players, telling reporters that fourth-line center Colin Fraser was still in Alberta, Canada dealing with a family issue, which caused him to miss Game 2.
Kyle Clifford, out since Game 1 of the opening-round series against the Canucks because of a concussion, took Fraser’s spot on the fourth line, though he played less than three minutes and committed a holding penalty while in the game.
“You can’t take penalties and you’ve got to play hard and you’ve got to be responsible on the right side of the puck,” Sutter said. “If he does that, he gets a chance to play.”