It was celebration time for the Kings after Dustin Penner's series-winning overtime goal in Game 5 against the Coyotes in Phoenix. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The NHL Playoff Recap gives you THN's take of what happened in each game of the night and what the consequences will be for the rest of the series.
We also provide our Three Stars of the night, which will be tabulated after each round. First Star is three points, Second Star is two points and Third Star is one point. Be sure to vote on who you think the first star was as well.
Of course there's the other side of the coin: The Black Hole is a piece of the lineup that just couldn't get it going on a given night and contributed to a difficult evening for the team.
KINGS/COYOTES, GAME 5: KINGS 4, COYOTES 3 (KINGS WIN SERIES 4-1)
THN'S TAKE: We now know the Los Angeles Kings will have a full week off before they play their next game. The only question that remains, aside from which side of the Hudson River they’ll visit, is whether or not Kings captain Dustin Brown will get to cool his heels even longer.
You’d have to think the knee that took out Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Michal Rozsival, just seconds before Dustin Penner decided he wanted to finally make an impact on the scoreboard in this series, will at the very least be closely examined by Brendan Shanahan’s office.
(As an aside here, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was booed by the crowd in Phoenix when he presented the Clarence Campbell Bowl to the Kings. Perhaps they’re unaware that Daly, who took on billionaire Jim Balsillie in the fight for the Coyotes, is the person most responsible for their team still playing in Glendale.)
The Coyotes gave it a valiant effort in this series and maybe, just maybe, exposed a little chink in the Kings armor, but they were simply not enough to stack up to the undisputed best team so far in this year’s playoffs. It marks the first time in 19 years the Kings have made it to the Stanley Cup final and if they have any aspirations of winning it all, they’d best find a way to improve their power play, which is the only real shortcoming in their game at the moment.
Aside from that, the Kings enter the Stanley Cup final on some kind of offensive roll, with contributions coming from all corners of the lineup. Goalie Jonathan Quick didn’t even have to be very good in this series after being all-world in the first two rounds.
If the Kings end up playing the New Jersey Devils, it will be interesting to see two high-flying teams (at least by today’s standards) go at each other with everything they’ve got in a bid for the Cup. If the Kings end up playing the Rangers, it will be, uh, interesting, yeah, interesting, to see how Los Angeles’ offense performs against a team that seems to want to turn this year’s playoffs into a defend-a-thon.
The Kings, as is the silly custom among most NHL players, refused to touch the Campbell Bowl when it was presented to them. The way they’ve played since mid-April, there’s a good chance they’ll get an opportunity to put their hands on the Stanley Cup in the next month. Regardless of whether they face the Devils or the Rangers, they’ll open on the road. No trouble, seeing as they’re 8-0 away from the Staples Center in these playoffs.
The Coyotes? Well, now they get to go back to more mundane off-ice matters such as ownership issues and whether or not they’ll play another game in the desert.
1. Drew Doughty: He was a cauldron of emotion in overtime and it could have very well gotten the better of him, but he spent much of the game being brilliant at both ends of the ice.
2. Taylor Pyatt: It was time for the Coyotes lesser lights to step up and Pyatt did just that with a goal and an assist.
3. Anze Kopitar: He tipped in Doughty’s point shot to tie the score in the first period and led all forwards on both teams in ice time with 30:24.
Who do you think was the first star?
THE BLACK HOLE: Radim Vrbata of the Coyotes had an assist on the first goal of the game, but looked like a man completely devoid of confidence every time he had the puck anywhere near the net.