Phoenix Coyotes goaltender, Mike Smith, became the 11th goalie in NHL history to score a goal with this empty-netter against the Detroit Red Wings last night. Smith’s full-ice effort crossed the goal line with just one tenth of a second remaining and was upheld after a review.
The unlikely tally put an exclamation point on the Coyotes’ 5-2 win.
Skating between the circles, Dustin Penner saw the puck bouncing his way. A scrum of players thrashing in front of him, he fired a shot through the crowd and between Phoenix goalie Mike Smith’s pads.
Fortunate? Maybe a little, but it was all the Los Angeles Kings needed to get where they haven’t been since Wayne Gretzky glided across the ice in Southern California.
Penner scored 17:42 into overtime and the Kings are headed to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time as a franchise after beating the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday night.
“I got a lucky bounce,” Penner said. “I just waited for it to settle down, and I got a chance to get it in the net.”
The kings of the road, Los Angeles will play for hockey’s ultimate prize for the first time since 1993 after taking down the Western Conference’s top three seeds.
The Kings knocked off No. 1 Vancouver, the Presidents’ Trophy winner, No. 2 St. Louis and rounded it out with a five-game win over the No. 3 Coyotes in the conference finals to become the second No. 8 seed — along with Edmonton in 2006 — to reach the Stanley Cup finals.
They played hard, utilized their skill and size and won away from home like no other team in NHL history.
“There hasn’t been much success as an organization, but we’ve got an opportunity to play for the Cup,” said Kings captain Dustin Brown, who angered the Coyotes with a hit that knocked defenseman Michal Rozsival from the game just before Penner’s goal. “But there’s still a lot of work to be done.”
After losing Game 4 at home, Los Angeles closed out Phoenix in the desert for its NHL-record eighth straight road victory of the playoffs. The Kings became the first team to go undefeated on the road en route to the Stanley Cup finals and have won 10 straight road playoff games over two seasons, another record.
Video: Jonathan Quick makes an amazing rolling save with the left pad on Radim Vrbata.
Video: Drew Doughty’s point shot is redirected by Anze Kopitar as LA gets the shorthanded equalizer.
Video: Marc-Antoine Pouliot gets his first goal as a Coyote, giving Phoenix a 2-1 lead in Game 5.
Video: Mike Richards gives the Kings a 3-2 lead, and puts the puck in again for safe measure.
Video: Dustin Penner scores on the rebound to send the LA Kings to the Stanley Cup Final.
When Daymond Langkow beat Jonathan Quick on a breakaway and celebrated Phoenix’s first lead in the Western Conference finals, captain Dustin Brown was almost curious how his Los Angeles Kings would respond to the first serious adversity they’ve faced in weeks.
Their answer told Brown that this unbelievable bunch of Kings is almost ready to play for the Stanley Cup.
Anze Kopitar scored the tying breakaway goal just 2:07 later, Dwight King added the winner early in the third period and the Kings rolled to the brink of their first Stanley Cup final in 19 years with a 2-1 victory in Game 3 on Thursday night, taking a 3-0 lead in the West finals.
Quick made 18 saves, and the eighth-seeded Kings improved to 11-1 in an undeniably charmed run through the NHL postseason by a franchise with 44 seasons of frustrating, Cup-free history.
For the third straight series, the West’s final playoff team will play for a sweep in Game 4 on Sunday.
“Phoenix was a lot better tonight, but we found a way to win,” Brown said. “That’s what it takes this time of year. It’s exciting. There’s a lot of guys in here that haven’t experienced this … but the thing that’s made this work is how we’re handling all this. We’re up 3-0 again.”
Although the Kings trailed for the first time in nearly 18 periods since April 28, they bounced back swiftly before largely controlling the third period. King scored his fourth goal in three games against the Coyotes, who face a deficit only three teams have overcome in NHL playoff history.
Video: Jon Quick gets just the slightest touch on the puck, keeping the Coyotes from evening the score.
Video: Anze Kopitar gets sprung for a breakaway that beats Smith to even the score at 1.
Video: Dwight King stays hot in the series, scoring from the dot to give the Kings the lead.
The Los Angeles Kings knew the Coyotes would come with everything they had. Even when that meant some questionable hits as the frustration grew, the Kings never let it bother them.
Withstanding an early push and a slew of penalties late, the Kings took control of the Western Conference finals with another dominating performance, beating the Coyotes 4-0 Tuesday night to match an NHL record with their seventh straight road playoff victory.
Jeff Carter scored three goals, Jonathan Quick stopped 24 shots and Los Angeles will head back home with a commanding series lead after flummoxing the Coyotes in two games in the desert.
“We didn’t want to do anything after the whistle,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “We just wanted to stay away from it. We didn’t have anything to prove that way.”
All Los Angeles wanted was the victory and the Kings got it, overwhelming the Coyotes after doing the same in Game 1.
The Kings shook off the big hits — a couple that led to game misconducts — and continued a can’t-stop-us roll that started with a playoff push the last month of the regular season.
Dwight King scored his third goal in two games, Quick tied Felix Potvin’s team record with his third career playoff shutout, and Carter finished off the Kings’ first playoff hat trick since Wayne Gretzky in 1993 in the third period.
Los Angeles has won seven straight overall, tied an NHL record by opening the playoffs 7-0 on the road, and matched another record by winning nine straight road playoff games over two seasons.
The New York Islanders won a pair of Stanley Cup titles while winning nine straight road games from 1982-83, and the Kings are starting to look like a team that could go on a Cup run of its own.
–Game 3 is Thursday night in Los Angeles.–
Video: Jeff Carter scored three goals and Jonathan Quick stopped 24 shots as the Los Angeles Kings matched an NHL record with their seventh straight road playoff victory.