After getting bounced from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first round the past two seasons, the Los Angeles Kings are the first team in the Western Conference Finals in 2012. The Kings entered the playoffs as the No. 8 seed, and after knocking off the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks, they became the first bottom seed to knock of the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds in consecutive series in NHL history. They will face the winner of the Coyotes-Predators series in their first Conference Finals since 1993.
The Kings closed it out with a 3-1 win over the Blues in Game 4, getting one goal each in the first period from Jordan Nolan, his first in the series, and the eventual game-winner from Dustin Brown, his fifth. Goalie Jonathan Quick, arguably the hottest goalie in the playoffs so far, saved 23 of 24 shots and 96 of 102 in the series, a phenomenal number. The Blues actually beat him a couple of times and had chances to tie the game in the third period, but couldn't quite get the puck in the net. This was the closest they got:
Less than a minute left in the game and the Blues pulled their goalie, trying to find some way of extending the season. With 25 seconds left, Brown scored his second of the game and sixth of the series on a breakaway, clinching the win.
The Blues made it a close one — as Quick said afterward, it was far closer than a four-game sweep — but timely scoring and brilliant goaltending was the recipe for the Kings to continue one of the most unlikely postseason runs in recent history.
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