Game 4: Kings 3, Blues 1
• To peep out all the videos online about this game, check out today’s Hockeywood Dailies.
Eternal also-rans since joining the NHL nearly 45 years ago, the Kings are going deep in this postseason — and the best of the West hasn’t slowed them down yet.
That break between Kings appearances in the final four of the Stanley Cup playoffs lasted a lot longer than anyone ever intended, anticipated or dreamed possible.
Nineteen years, in fact.
• LA Times’ Helene Elliott: Good times roll for Brown, Kopitar
Brown, who made his NHL debut during the 2003-04 season, and Kopitar, who made an immediate impact as a rookie in 2006-07, have been there for all the broken promises and unrealized dreams, through coaching changes and baffling lineup shuffles. They allowed their optimism to flower when things changed for the better and persevered when the young team sometimes took two steps back for every three steps forward.
• NHL.com: Kings complete sweep with 3-1 win
It is far too early to discuss who the top contenders for the Conn Smythe Trophy are, but there are clearly two strong candidacies developing in this city.
Captain Dustin Brown scored twice — a wicked snipe for the game-winner and an empty-netter for the series-clincher — and goaltender Jonathan Quick made 23 saves as the Los Angeles Kings completed a sweep of the St. Louis Blues with a 3-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Staples Center to advance to the conference finals for the first time in 19 years.
• NHL.com: Quick comes up big again for Kings
Quick was his usual modest self after L.A. completed an impressive sweep of the Blues to advance to the conference finals for the second time in franchise history and first time since 1993. Quick was required to hold the fort under heavy duress. St. Louis outshot L.A., 13-2, in the second period and 24-19 for the game. It was just another day at the office for the young goalie.
• NHL.com: Kings await next opponent
Los Angeles experienced success against both Phoenix and Nashville during the regular season. The Kings went 3-1-2 against the Coyotes — a Pacific Division rival — and shut them out twice. They also won three of four matchups against the Predators.
Regardless of opponent, the Kings will not have home-ice advantage. Phoenix won the Pacific and earned the No. 3 seed, while Nashville racked up 104 points and finished fourth.
• ESPNLA.com: Tandem save preserves lead, empty-netter clinches series
These weren’t just momentum changers, they were game savers.
Two plays that may stand out long after this postseason ends were the tandem save by Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar and goalkeeper Jonathan Quick midway through the final period Sunday afternoon, and the empty-net goal by Dustin Brown in the closing seconds of Game 4, allowing the Kings to complete the sweep of the Western Conference semifinal with a 3-1 victory against the St. Louis Blues at Staples Center.
• Fox Sports West: Kings’ sweep of Blues was awfully Quick
Though the national and Canadian media and more casual hockey fans have leapt onto the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings’ bandwagon during their shockingly short dispatches of Vancouver and St. Louis, don’t expect Dustin Brown to remove the team’s blinders