Advertisement

Defense answers for Kings

Matt Greene scores the go-ahead goal short-handed. Kings are 4-0 on the road this postseason.

April 29, 2012|Lisa Dillman

ST. LOUIS — Answer: Matt Greene, Dustin Penner and Jonathan Quick.

Question: Who happened to be three stars -- in no particular order -- in the Kings' 3-1 victory over the Blues on Saturday in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals?

Serious questions demand serious answers. Seriously.

This isn't some strange hockey quiz with Quick's name thrown in for a whiff of credibility. Indeed, Quick was his usual (nearly) impenetrable self in making 28 saves in the series opener and keeping the Kings from losing a grip under early Blues pressure.

Sink or swim.

The same could be applied to Penner, who assisted on the Kings' first goal, showing self-assurance and patience in the first period in setting up defenseman Slava Voynov, who was pinching on the right side. It was Voynov's first career playoff goal, tying the game 1-1. Then Penner displayed a clever sense of geometry, scoring an empty-netter after he banked it off the far boards with 14.2 seconds left.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, May 02, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 42 words Type of Material: Correction
Kings-Blues hockey: In some copies of the April 29 Sports section, a photo caption accompanying an article about the Los Angeles Kings' 3-1 playoff victory over the St. Louis Blues misspelled the last name of St. Louis player Chris Stewart as Steward.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, May 06, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 42 words Type of Material: Correction
Kings-Blues hockey: In some copies of the April 29 Sports section, a photo caption accompanying an article about the Los Angeles Kings' 3-1 playoff victory over the St. Louis Blues misspelled the last name of St. Louis player Chris Stewart as Steward.

In between those two Penner flashes was the defining moment of the game. Greene, a defenseman's defenseman, scored his first career playoff goal and the game-winner. It was a short-handed effort as he knocked in a rebound off captain Dustin Brown's shot off a hard drive to the net.

"I've seen him score goals, but I haven't seen him jump up on a five-on-five play in five years," Brown said smiling.

The eighth-seeded Kings have won their last six playoff games on the road, including four from this post-season campaign, three from the Vancouver series and Saturday night's win at Scotttrade Center against the second-seeded Blues.

Penner acknowledged the bludgeoning effect of Greene's effort and the overall impact. This was the Kings' third short-handed goal of the playoffs.

"If I'm on the other team, that's deflating," Penner said.

The goal came with 1:03 left in the second period and gave the Kings a 2-1 lead. St. Louis was on the power play after the Kings' Dwight King received a two-minute minor for boarding Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

He went into the end boards and did not return to the game. The officials did not see that Pietrangelo was cut under his chin and was bleeding.

"We were both going for the puck," King said. "He was going slow. I got position on the inside of him ... and I leaned on him. He was off balance and fell."

Kay Whitmore, the NHL supervisor of officiating for the series, said the officials did not see the cut.

"Their judgment of the degree of violence ... they deemed it a minor penalty, and that's why they called it a minor," Whitmore told a pool reporter. "It's their judgment. They see the whole play unfold, and they didn't deem, in this instance obviously, that King drove [Pietrangelo] into the boards."

This was the first time the Kings have managed to win a playoff game against the Blues; they were swept in two previous series. Then again, the first one was in 1969.

"When you play Los Angeles, there's a price to pay to win," Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock said. "There's a high price, and if we expect to win the next game, we're going to have to pay a bigger price than the one we paid. And I don't mean just physical play."

And then there's a seemingly rejuvenated Penner. His insurance goal was his second of the playoffs and fourth point. The Manitoba native was his usual amusing self about the bank shot.

"I wasn't aiming for that part of the boards," he said. "They curl a lot in Manitoba. I practice a bit. We just didn't have men sweeping."

Not that anyone can quite figure Penner out, teammates and coaches included.

"Pens, for a guy who probably catches a lot of ... stuff ... but when he's on his game, he's a pretty effective player," Brown said. "Especially against a team like this. There's not many guys when he wants to play that can probably match him physically.

"That was a great game by him. Now we need another one."

--

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|