The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 4-2 in Game 1 of the National Hockey League’s Western Conference finals, improving their record to 6-0 away from home this postseason.
The Kings never trailed, held a 48-27 advantage in shots and snapped a 2-2 tie on Dustin Brown’s goal 2:11 into the third period last night at Jobing.com Arena in Phoenix.
“We had a lot of rest and, coming out of the gates, we just wanted to make sure we pushed the pace,” said Kings center Anze Kopitar, who scored 3:53 into the first period, when Los Angeles outshot Phoenix 17-4. “It’s a little bit easier when you score first.”
Dwight King added a pair of goals for Los Angeles, including an empty-net score with 47.7 seconds left.
The Kings, the eighth seed in the West, had six days off after completing a four-game sweep of the No. 2 St. Louis Blues in the second round. They knocked off the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks in the opening round of the playoffs.
Derek Morris and Mikkel Boedker had goals for the Coyotes, who host Game 2 tomorrow.
“We weren’t close in that game, we got beat in every facet,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “Hopefully we take some lessons from it and we can be better next time.”
The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils are in the Eastern Conference finals, with Game 1 scheduled for tonight at Madison Square Garden in New York.