May 13, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Phoenix Coyotes center Martin Hanzal (11) checks Los Angeles Kings center Jordan Nolan (71) during the third period of game one of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
The Kings needed an empty-net goal to assure victory, but Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was right when he says Game 1 wasn't even close.
For the team administering the beating, this was nothing new. The Kings opened their third consecutive playoff series on the road and merely continued doing what they've been doing all playoffs, winning their ninth game in ten tries this playoff season.
They remain undefeated in five playoff games on the road.
Captain Dustin Brown, as he has done so often this postseason, provided pivotal plays with his third-period game-winning goal and earlier assist on Anze Kopitar's goal. The Kings attacked the Coyotes with four lines and rendered the Coyotes' top line largely invisible. By game's end the Kings had outshot Phoenix 48-27, about double the 10-shot deficit the Coyotes have customarily suffered in these playoffs.
Even with that domination, the fickle hockey gods showed their presence. The game was still in doubt in the third period, when Brown's goal provided the difference. The Coyotes had a couple of zone entries that threatened to tie the game, a few after Mike Smith advanced the puck quickly from his own zone and one after Smith had left the goal for a sixth attacker. A Dwight King empty net goal finally iced things.
That the score was surprisingly still in doubt as time wound down was thanks to an uncharacteristically poor game from Jonathan Quick.
Maybe it was the long layoff between series, but Quick gave up one goal on a Derek Morris shot from center ice, and another came when Quick was quick to wander but slow to get back to his crease after an exchange with Drew Doughty.
Those two gifts weren't enough to give the Coyotes Game 1 though.
As Tippett correctly summed it up: "We weren't close in that game."