It was a thriller of game last night at Jobing.com Arena when the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes came together for Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. Phoenix was pushing early in the first period and Vrbata had a great chance from a 2-on-1 created. He got to the slot but goaltender Jonathan Quick slid across the crease and made an excellent/classic two pad save.
Taylor Pyatt kicked the scoring off on the power play that went 1/5 in the game. The Kings however battled back and while Phoenix was on another power play in the game, Anzei Kopitar potted a short-handed goal that was deflected into the net at 11:13 in the first period to tie the game. The assists went to Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty
The scoring flares continued in the second period when Pouilot scored off his backhand from Chipchura and Klesla to break the 1-1 tie. The Kings didn’t take that lightly and they would get goals from Drew Doughty and Mike Richards to finally take the lead for the first time in the game. There was no shortage of extra circulars either.
At one point in the game, goalie Mike Smith raced off the ice to with the equipment trainer during commercial time out and managed to get back on the ice in time. It’s a guess as to what he could’ve gone off for. Outside of that, pucks flew off goalie masks and it was classic goaltenders dual. Both Quick and Smith made some outstanding saves with Quick flat out robbing Vermette after almost being tackled by a Phoenix player in the 3rd period. Quick argued it should be goalie interference, but it wasn’t acknowledged.
Ultimately, the biggest issue was in the overtime period when two players collided that left Phoenix arguing it should be a penalty on Dustin Brown for his knee-on-knee hit on Michael Rozsival. But the officials didn’t see it that way as the play had been called on an offsides and the collision happened just after the whistle had been blown. It appears the hit was more centered like a hip check and Rozsival was the unfortunate recipient of the hit and took the full force. He would be carried off the ice by his teammate and trainer barely being able to put weight on his leg. Shortly after that, Dustin Penner would score the overtime and lead the Kings to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 19 years.
After losing the first game in desert, the Kings took their chances in Game 5 and came out with their 8th straight road victory and will be heading to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1993.
The Kings will now have an 8 day layoff as Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals is scheduled to begin on May 30th in the New York Metropolitan Area. The Kings will have to wait for the conclusion of the Eastern Conference Finals between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers to determine which arena they will be visiting. It should be noted that Captain Dustin Brown did not touch the Campbell Bowl when it was presented to the team.
Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals (New Jersey at New York) is tonight at 8 pm ET/ on NBC Sports/CBC.