The Los Angeles Kings scored three first period goals and never looked back, beating the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 6-2 on Friday night in Game 7 of their second round series.
The Kings will now advance to take on the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, with Game 1 set to be played Sunday at 12pm Pacific time in Chicago.
The Kings didn’t waste any time grabbing control of the game early on, scoring their first goal of the game less than five minutes into the contest.
After Saku Koivu turned the puck over along the boards on a Kings’ power play, Slava Voynov wired in a shot from the point. Mike Richards deflected the shot slightly, but John Gibson made the save. Justin Williams got inside position on the Duck defenders and pushed home the rebound to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
Just four minutes later, the Kings struck again. Marian Gaborik picked up the puck in the neutral zone and pushed a pass forward to Jeff Carter, and the star forward did the rest. Muscling his way past two different defensemen, Carter set up a breakaway for himself and beat Gibson with a quick move, putting Los Angeles ahead by two goals.
The Ducks finally got a few scoring chances of their own as the period wore on, including a penalty shot by Corey Perry. Jonathan Quick made a tremendous move as Perry made his way toward the goal, poke-checking the puck away and preventing the Ducks forward from even getting a shot attempt off.
Taking advantage of their goaltender’s play, the Kings ended up picking up a third goal a few minutes later. This time, it was Mike Richards doing the honors, as he picked up the rebound from a Dwight King shot and deposited it past Gibson to make it a 3-0 game.
Cam Fowler and Francois Beauchemin both were in position to stop Richards from getting to the goal, but a miscommunication ended up costing them as neither player stepped up to push Richards off his chosen path up the ice.
As the first period came to an end, the Kings got a couple more chances to score, but they were denied by a couple of shots off the post. Tyler Toffoli had the first shot to ring off iron, firing a one timer out of the slot off the near post, and then Slava Voynov’s power play bid rang off the crossbar. Despite the bad luck, the Kings ended up outshooting Anaheim 16-6 in the first period, and they held a 3-0 lead as a result.
Just two minutes into the second period, the Kings scored again to extend their lead to four and to chase Gibson from the game. After a Ducks turnover in the neutral zone, Anze Kopitar ended up with the puck and blasted a wrist shot in from the slot, and Gibson couldn’t get his blocker up in time as the Kings made it a 4-0 game.
Three minutes later, the Ducks got a power play opportunity as Voynov was sent off for a high-sticking infraction, but it was erased just four seconds later as Perry was whistled for boarding off the opening draw on the power play.
The Ducks did eventually get a power play a few minutes later thanks to a Richards tripping infraction, but they couldn’t put any shots past Quick as the Kings goaltender looked poised despite not being tested much in the game.
The Kings ended up testing new Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller several times in the ensuing few minutes after killing off the penalty, and they eventually netted a power play tally of their own.
After some great puck movement around the zone, Kopitar found Marian Gaborik wide open in the face-off circle, and the Kings’ sniper didn’t miss as he potted his ninth goal of the playoffs and put the Kings up 5-0.
Three minutes later, the Ducks finally got on the board as the second period neared its conclusion. Kyle Palmieri picked up the puck near the goal line and somehow squeezed a shot in between Quick’s skate and the near post, making it a 5-1 game and giving the Ducks a bit of hope.
The hope was only amplified as Dustin Brown was taken off the ice thanks to a slashing call with only 20 seconds remaining in the period, and the Ducks headed into the third period with a power play to try to get back in the contest.
The Ducks didn't score on their power play to begin the period, but they kept pushing the issue and eventually scored to narrow the deficit to three. Ryan Getzlaf picked up the puck behind the net, and he flipped a pass to the front. Perry picked it up and ripped a wrist shot past Quick to make it a 5-2 game with about 16 minutes remaining in the game.
As the third period wore on, both teams exchanged some good scoring chances, but the Kings continued to get the better end of the offensive battle. Dustin Brown's pass across the ice to Gaborik on a 2-on-1 rush nearly resulted in a goal, but the forward's shot sailed just wide of the far post.
A few moments later, the Kings ended up getting another 2-on-1 rush, and this time they scored. Carter worked his way around the defense on the right side of the ice, and as he got closer to the goal, he fed a pass across to Tanner Pearson, who pushed a one-timer past Hiller to make it a 6-2 Kings lead with about six minutes left.
The final few minutes of the game passed uneventfully as the Ducks struggled to so much as gain possession in the Kings' zone. Eventually the clock ran out, and the Kings punched their ticket to the Western Conference Final for the second consecutive season.