Western Conference finals
Game 3 (Kings lead the series, 2-0)
After the 1st period:
Kings 0, Phoenix Coyotes 0
The good: The Kings won the opening faceoff and their top line of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams had a solid first shift. What transpired from there was at least a half a dozen good scoring chances. Trevor Lewis was left alone near the right post and he tried to shove the puck past Phoenix goalie Mike Smith, but was stopped on the doorstep. Jarret Stoll had an excellent chance after Dwight King stopped a clearing pass and fed it to Stoll alone in the slot, but the puck slid off his stick before he could gather it in. A couple minutes later, Mike Richards made a nifty drop pass to a trailing Jeff Carter, who spotted defenseman Slava Voynov coming into the play. He centered the pass to the rookie, but his laser shot went wide. Even low-scoring defenseman Rob Scuderi got a slap shot through traffic and the puck appeared to nick a couple bodies on the way to the net, but again Smith was in place to make the save. Jonathan Quick continues to be masterful in goal for the Kings, stopping 11 shots in the opening period.
The bad: All those scoring chances and nothing to show for it. Obviously, the Coyotes didn’t come to L.A. to get swept. Smith is locked in for this one and the Kings will need to get creative to find a way around him tonight. The Kings were a little sloppy in the neutral zone. They had seven giveaways in the opening 20 minutes and most were near center ice coming out of the defensive zone. They’re also losing the faceoff battle, 12-6, with Richards going 2-5 on the draw. The Kings got an early power play when Phoenix captain Shane Doan continued to display a lack of discipline by backhanding Stoll in the face for a roughing penalty, but the Kings only managed one shot on goal and spent most of the time trying to get the puck back from the Coyotes after Carter failed to secure a pass from Kopitar.
The in between: The Coyotes had a 9-4 advantage in shots on goal at the halfway point of the period, but that edge was trimmed to 11-8. Phoenix dressed their enforcer, Paul Bissonnette, but he was relatively tame in the first period. He took just four shifts. The Kings will likely need to answer to him at some point.