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Kings one win from conference finals

Drew Doughty has a goal and two assists in a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3, giving L.A. a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series.

May 03, 2012|By Lisa Dillman

Finally, the names Wayne Gretzky, Luc Robitaille and Kelly Hrudey are on the verge of having some long-awaited company, some fresh names in the Kings' playoff ledger.

How about Mike Richards, Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick, to name a few?

The Kings are one game away from going somewhere they have been only one other time in franchise history, going past the second round of the playoffs. The Kings pulled to the brink of the Western Conference finals with a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night at Staples Center, taking a 3-0 series lead.

Game 4 will be Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. Only three teams have rallied from a 3-0 series deficit. The Kings are 7-1 in the playoffs and have won four straight games.

The Kings used a wide variety of weapons to inch closer that place they visited 19 years ago on their way to the Stanley Cup finals when they eventually lost to Montreal in 1993.

"I think the one thing that stands out to me in these playoffs so far is we've had different guys step up at different times," Brown said. "I think Quick maybe had two really difficult saves in the third and they were big saves for us, but we got a big game out of Richards and a big game out of [Drew] Doughty.

"[Anze] Kopitar had a pretty good game as well and we got a goal from [Dwight] King. We're not going to be a team that is going to be winning games just with one line scoring. We've got to have contributions from everyone and sometimes it's Quick making a big save. Sometimes it's our defense making a big block, but tonight we got big games from some of our top guys."

There was a power-play goal, ending an 0-for-30 drought, a multi-point performance from defenseman Doughty and a Gordie Howe hat trick from Richards.

The only St. Louis player to solve Quick was Chris Stewart, who scored twice. Stewart was a healthy scratch in Game 2.

For the Kings, Doughty had a goal and two assists and defenseman Matt Greene assisted on King's second-period goal, banking a pass off the boards to send King in on shaky St. Louis goaltender Brian Elliott. That goal came at 1:53 of the second period, only 40 seconds after Stewart had tied it at 1. Scoring the other Kings goal was Justin Williams, who gave the Kings a 1-0 lead in the first period.

Back to the Howe hat trick of Richards.

That, of course, would be a fight, a goal and an assist.

Richards set the tone by fighting the Blues' Jamie Langenbrunner six minutes into the game. He scored, on the power-play, in the second period, victimizing Elliott from a sharp angle to give the Kings a 3-1 lead and assisted on Doughty's goal in the third period, which made it 4-2.

Asked about the Howe hat trick, Richards smiled.

"I don't know. I think it's my first one," he said. "I think the intensity carried over from last game a little bit and we wanted to come out to a good start and they did too."

Game 3 had some of the physical aspects of Game 2 but the Blues found themselves running into trouble time and time again with their undisciplined responses.

"It's fine. If they're coming after me -- I said this earlier -- it means Kopi [Kopitar] is going to have a lot of room out there," Brown said. "Let's be honest. We want Kopi to have more ice than I do."

Said the Blues' David Backes: "It's Game 3 and more of the same. They've got a team that's playing all together as a team and sticking to the game plan, and we're in for a while, we're out for a while, we're in for a while and it just doesn't match up.

"We need to look in the mirror again and decide. We've had some good contributions from a guy that was a healthy scratch last game so when you get contributions like that, the guys that are in every night, the top-end guys who win our matchups, need to be better on special teams all around and [we need to] give ourselves a fighting chance."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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