Thursday, May 3, 2012
Kings: Dwight King, Mike Richards score for 3-1 lead after two
By Dan Arritt
Western Conference Semifinal
Game 3 (Kings lead the Series, 2-0)
After the 2nd period:
Kings 3, St. Louis Blues 1
The good: Forty seconds after the Blues tied the score, Kings defenseman Matt Greene made a nice bank pass off the boards to rookie right wing Dwight King, who sent a laser from the right faceoff circle over the right leg of goalie Brian Elliott and into the far side of the net for a 2-1 lead. It was a similar response as Game 2, when the Blues scored just after the first intermission to cut the deficit to 4-1, but the Kings answered less than a minute later. King has been a key figure in the series, from the shove he put on Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo that knocked him out of Game 2 to his first career playoff point that could stand up as the game winner tonight. The Kings then ended an 0-for-30 drought on the power play when Mike Richards reached into his bag of tricks and took a shot from just above the goal line with the intention of banking it through Elliott’s legs. Richards used the same move in Game 1 of the first-round series against the Canucks, and Elliott must not have seen that tape because it was a carbon-copy goal for a 3-1 lead. Dustin Brown continues to get under the skin of the Blues. He drew the game’s first three penalties on the Blues, all retaliatory penalties that went unanswered by Brown.
The bad: The Kings gave up a goal early in the second period for the second straight game to put their fans on the edge of their seats, if only briefly. This time, the Kings got caught on a change and defenseman Roman Polak lit up Kings center Anze Kopitar to free the puck. Kris Russell recovered and fed right wing Chris Stewart, who beat three Kings to the net before shoveling a backhander by Jonathan Quick on the short side. Kings rookie defenseman Slava Voynov looked especially porous on the play.
The in between: The Kings out-shot the Blues, 10-6, in the period to take and 18-10 edge heading into the final period. Look for the Blues to try and get the Kings off their game with some after-the-whistle antics. It’s important the Kings remember what happened in Game 2. After all, they only have a two-goal lead heading into the third period, not four like they did in Game 2.