Richards leads road warriors

Kings forward Mike Richards celebrates his goal against the Coyotes during Game 5 of the NHL...

Kings forward Mike Richards celebrates his goal against the Coyotes during Game 5 of the NHL Western Conference final at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., May 22, 2012. (TODD KOROL/Reuters)a

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:06 AM ET

The Los Angeles Kings are off to the Stanley Cup final for the first time since 1993, and they have Mike Richards to thank.

Even though Dustin Penner scored the overtime winner, it was Richards, the pride of Kenora, Ont., who showed his knack for turning it on when he needs to. The Kings were looking listless in the first period on Tuesday night in Phoenix, and Richards was as invisible as the rest of his team.

The second period, however, is when Richards started looking more noticeable. Despite being on the ice for all three Phoenix goals, he was in the right place at the right time and buried L.A.’s third goal. He led the Philadelphia Flyers to the final two years ago, and now he’s done it with the Kings, who have yet to lose on the road in the playoffs.

The Kings won 4-3 to take the series in five games, and now they have eight days until the final begins.

RANT TIME

NBC’s Pierre McGuire was between the benches on Monday for Game 4 of the Rangers-Devils series, so he was able to hear what John Tortorella and Pete DeBoer were yelling at each other.

The only problem is he wasn’t willing to spill the juicy details. All McGuire revealed was that their coaching backgrounds came up during the argument. “They weren’t having an amiable conversation about what they were going to do for dinner in the summer,” McGuire said. Other than that, we’re left to wonder.

The people at home knew that. A reporter’s job is to tell us something we don’t know. McGuire told Newsday his location and respect for the coaches and players means he needs to keep some things secret.

“I think that’s part of why it’s worked for seven years and will work for a lot longer,” McGuire told Newsday. “The point of "Inside the Glass" is to try to relay the intensity and passion at ice level.”

We know it’s intense on the ice. It’s the playoffs. He obviously can’t say everything, but give us something. Otherwise, he might as well be up in the booth.

BITS AND PIECES

Dustin Brown made sure to drive Shane Doan into the open door at the Coyotes bench in the first period, and Doan was none too happy. Doan had every right to be peeved, because that was a dirty play by Brown … A few seconds later, karma paid Doan and the Coyotes right back when Martin Hanzal, who moments earlier had drilled Anze Kopitar, fired a slap shot that Taylor Pyatt tipped past Jonathan Quick … Brown had another dirty play in overtime when he hit Michal Rozsival with his knee. The Coyotes still appeared rattled when Penner scored a few seconds later … Speaking of Quick, he would be the Conn Smythe winner if it was handed out today, no? … Then again, Brown has yet to be a minus player in a playoff game … While Tortorella and DeBoer have shown no problem chatting it up during games, have Dave Tippett or Darryl Sutter said two words to anyone? … The Kings have six power-play goals in the playoffs and five shorthanded tallies.

ICINGS

People were actually wondering about Drew Doughty’s ability to play hockey midway through this season. Turns out the Kings defenceman, like the rest of his teammates, were apparently just waiting for the playoffs to start before turning it up a notch or two. He was minus-two during the regular season, and he was plus-nine in the playoffs going into Tuesday’s contest … Then again, the way Doughty freaked out after getting an interference penalty in overtime, he still has plenty of growing up to do … Commercial pet peeve: Hey, Boston Pizza: "All meat wings" are chicken strips. … I'm assuming the referees got a police escort out of the arena last night?

AROUND THE GLASS

It was 41 C outside Jobing.com Arena on Tuesday night when they dropped the puck. If that doesn’t scream hockey, not sure what does … Coyotes forward Ray Whitney didn't contribute to the cause as much in the playoffs as he did in the regular season, but has anyone had a more quiet 1,000-point career than him? The recently turned 40-year-old even appeared in all 82 games this season. If he keeps it up next season, he could go down as one of the greatest 40-plus players in league history … Just as I finished typing that CBC showed a picture of a young Whitney with one of his minor hockey teams, sponsored by Rice’s Pork Farm. When they asked him which one was him, Whitney said he was, as always, the one in the front row of the photo whose skates didn’t touch the floor.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/PentonKirk


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