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Monday, May 14, 2012
Kings-Coyotes, Game 1: Notes on a scandal

By Pierre LeBrun



GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The goal was stunning. A 98-foot blast from the center red line from Derek Morris that beat Jonathan Quick to tie the game 1-1 Sunday night.

With a Vezina Trophy nomination under his belt and his Conn Smythe candidacy fully deserving, it’s a goal you would have never guessed possible.

"I couldn’t have played it any differently," shrugged Quick, the Los Angeles Kings goaltender. "Just a lucky bounce. It happens."

He wasn’t too interested in talking about it, not surprisingly. That his team won the game, 4-2, certainly diffused the story.

"We felt we had to get a couple for Quicky," Kings forward Anze Kopitar said. "He’s been bailing us out all season and a few times in the playoffs, too. I don’t think anybody was concerned or worried about it. We just kind of looked at each [other] and said we should win this for him."

Captain Dustin Brown said Quick didn’t say anything about it in the room after the first period.

"Quicker, he doesn't really talk a lot," Brown said. "He makes 25 big saves a game and he don't say anything after those. He lets one in that he probably wants back, he just put his head down and got back to work. There were one or two saves that were pretty remarkable in the third. One on the blocker side. I don't know. Four or five minutes left in the third. That definitely saved the game for us. He's one of those guys, he gets right back at it and doesn't let it affect him."

Just not good enough


The Phoenix Coyotes, somewhat amazingly, headed to the dressing room after the second period tied 2-2, despite being outshot 34-18. But they came out flat early in the third period as Dustin Brown scored the winner 2:11 in.

"That’s disappointing when we tied it up 2-2, we kind of got a little momentum, but we weren’t good enough," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said.

The Coyotes were outshot and outplayed in Game 1 last round against Nashville as well yet pulled out an overtime win. This time, no such luck.

"We leave this game just like we did against Game 1 after Nashville,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "We know there's some adjustments we have to make. We know there's some parts of our game that have to be much better. The only difference is we didn't get the fortunate outcome we did against Nashville.

"Let's be honest, there were stretches in that Nashville game that could have went the other way, and tonight it didn't go our way. There's some areas we can be much better at. I give them credit, they played a strong game, but I think our team is going to have to be better if we're going to have a chance.’’

Kings' PK is killer


The Kings killed off five Coyotes’ power plays Sunday, making Los Angeles 24-for-24, a stretch dating back to Game 5 in the opening round against Vancouver.

"Smart pressure," Kings penalty killer Jarret Stoll said. "You can pressure all you want, if you're not smart with it and you got one guy going and you got two guys sitting back, gaps open up, lanes open up, a good power play can pick you apart.

"We're all on the same page, moving together, pressuring together. If you get one extra guy in there, they're going to get a shot, a chance. As long as it's not a grade-A scoring chance, Quicky is going to save those all right."