Thursday, May 3, 2012
Kings: Justin Williams scores for 1-0 first-period lead
By Dan Arritt
Western Conference Semifinal
Game 3 (Kings lead the Series, 2-0)
After the 1st period:
Kings 1, St. Louis Blues 0
The good: After dominating most of the period, the Kings were finally rewarded with 6:27 remaining. Justin Williams brought the puck down the right side with speed, pulled a bullfighter move on a hip check by St. Louis defenseman Vladimir Sobatka and then stopped and circled around in the right faceoff circle. He dumped the puck off to Anze Kopitar, who cycled the puck to Drew Doughty, who gave it back to Williams. He took a shot from just inside the right dot as St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott sprawled with Dustin Brown lurking near the far post. Elliott was defenseless to stop the puck as it banked off the lower half of his body and past the goal line. Williams has goals in back-to-back playoff games. ... The penalty kill continues to be sharp for the Kings, snuffing out the only power play of the period to improve to 27-for-27 this season against the Blues.
The bad: The Kings received two power plays of their own but only managed a combined one shot on goal. Getting shots hasn’t been a problem for the Kings, but putting them on net has been a struggle. They were credited with eight shots on goal in the period but 12 others were off target and six more were blocked. By comparison, the Blues took just four shots on goal, including none on their power play, only two shots were off target and three were blocked. The Kings also had a rough start in the faceoff circle, losing nine of the first 12 draws, but finished 9-for-21 in the period. Doughty got the primary assist on the goal, but also missed a wide open redirection earlier in the period and had a sky-high four giveaways.
The in between: Kings second-line center Mike Richards dropped the gloves and fought St. Louis alternate captain Jamie Langenbrunner six minutes into the game. It was hardly a scripted bout, as both hammered away at each other with their sticks for a few seconds before dropping the gloves. Richards was much more active in the scrap, even knocking Langenbrunner into the wall with a left hook, but Richards ended up getting an extra two minutes for slashing. Richards is too valuable of a player for the Kings to be sitting in the penalty box for five minutes, but he did seem to incite his teammates even more. ... Brown wasn't credited with any hits in the period, though he did lay a lick on St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo just as the puck flew out of play. Pietrangelo is in his first game back after missing Game 2 following face-to-face meeting with the end boards.