KINGS 2, COYOTES 1: Dwight King continued his magical postseason run, scoring the game winner early in the third period as host Los Angeles took a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western Conference finals.
King played the hero just 1:47 into the frame, skating out from the corner boards on a delayed Phoenix penalty and firing a high shot past netminder Mike Smith’s glove for his fifth goal in five games. The rookie forward scored just five times in 27 regular-season contests.
Penalties hurt Phoenix’s chances at a comeback, with Michal Roszival taking a high-sticking minor just before the five-minute mark and Oliver Ekman-Larsson getting called for cross-checking at 13:22. The Coyotes pulled Smith for an extra attacker with just over a minute remaining, but their final chance to net the equalizer was snuffed out after Radim Vrbata was whistled for slashing the Kings’ Anze Kopitar with 41 seconds left.
Los Angeles held on from there to extend its playoff winning streak to eight games and move within a victory of returning to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1993. Game 4 is set for Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center.
Jonathan Quick stopped 18 shots to preserve the victory.
The teams played a tight-checking first period that saw zero goals and few scoring chances. The Kings had the best opportunity in the opening frame, but Smith made a good save on a Jarrett Stoll chance from in close following a setup by King.
The teams shook off the shackles to open the second period. Phoenix struck first at 1:03, with Daymond Langkow escaping on a partial breakaway and firing a shot that trickled between Quick’s pads.
Kopitar answered just over two minutes later with one of the nicest goals of the series. The star forward broke in alone and deked out Smith before beating him between the pads with a backhand shot for his 10th point in the last six games.