GLENDALE, ARIZ. - The Phoenix Coyotes lost it.
All of it.
The game, their cool and probably, the way it looks now after just two games, the Western Conference final.
The Coyotes played a lot better than they did in Game 1 against the Los Angeles Kings and still that wasn’t nearly enough in a 4-0 Game 2 loss Tuesday night.
The Kings are rolling thunder right now. They're 7-0 on the road in these playoffs as an eighth-seed, having gone into their opponents' barns and swept the first two games in three-straight series now.
This is how good things are going for the Kings: Jeff Carter -- remember him? -- had a hat trick in Tuesday's win en route to helping L.A. grab a 2-0 series lead.
Not to take anything away from the Kings, but the Coyotes self-destructed in the second half of Game 2 after playing a decent opening 20 minutes.
Two major penalties cost the Coyotes a couple goals against and maybe the services of centre Martin Hanzal for Game 3 Thursday.
Hanzal’s slammed Kings captain Dustin Brown into the end boards with nine minutes left in the third period. Hanzal was penalized five minutes and given a game misconduct for the play, and will probably have a hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan.
Carter completed his hat trick during a resulting 5-on-3 power play to make it 4-0. It was another example of the Kings getting a boost from a different face.
“That’s huge for this team. It’s how it’s been for us the whole playoffs. We have a lot of guys playing at pretty high levels,” Brown said. “It’s one of those things where we have guys stepping up at different times. You can go back all the way to the Vancouver series, that first game of the playoffs. That was a big win for us and a lot of it had to do with (Mike) Richards. You’ve got guys different nights doing different things for us.”
Coyotes Captain Shane Doan got tossed from the game for a vicious hit from behind on Trevor Lewis with less than four minutes left in the second. Doan drove Lewis' face into the boards, leaving the Kings’ forward bleeding from the bridge of his nose.
Coyotes defenceman Keith Yandle was already in the box at that point and Phoenix forward Daymond Langkow also took a slashing penalty on the play, so the Kings were set up with at least two minutes and nine seconds of 5-on-3 play.
Carter picked up his second goal of the game when Anze Kopitar’s wrister went in off his knee with nine seconds left in Langkow’s penalty to make it 3-0. It was just the Kings’ fifth power-play goal of the playoffs.
Now the scene will shift to Los Angeles with Game 3 Thursday and Game 4 Sunday afternoon.
“I thought the first period we played a little better, we competed a little harder,” Coyotes goalie Mike Smith said. “It’s not enough. They’re a good hockey team. We haven’t played near the capability of our team. It’s the first one to four, not the first one to two, so there’s no need to hit the panic button, but we do need to play better.”
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett shuffled his lines for Game 2 after the Brown-Kopitar-Justin Williams line dominated in Game 1 with 15 shots and two goals. Tippett opted to play a line centred by Boyd Gordon against the Kopitar unit. It worked to a certain extent, but, as has been the case many times for the Kings this post-season, their depth came to the fore.
Carter, who’s been pretty much invisible in these playoffs, ran his goal total to four with the hat trick.
Carter scored his second goal of the playoffs to give the Kings a 2-0 lead at 4:47 of the second period. He whiffed his shot as he fell forward, but the changeup beat Smith.
Carter's goals may not all have been works of art, but how many are at this time of year?