GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Kings' dormant power play stirred to life, as did forward Jeff Carter, and the Phoenix Coyotes picked the second game of the Western Conference finals to look like they had spent too much time in the midday sun.
The Coyotes simply lost it, and now the Kings are within two victories of winning the series and reaching the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in franchise history.
Getting there took a collective effort, featuring the first career playoff hat trick from Carter and another goal from rookie Dwight King in the Kings' 4-0 victory over the Coyotes on Tuesday night at Jobing.com Arena. It was their seventh straight playoff road victory this spring, and ninth in a row going back to last year, which ties an NHL record.
Not only did Carter get the hat trick, two of the goals coming on the power play, but goalie Jonathan Quick, who made 24 saves, recorded his third career playoff shutout. The Kings have lost just once in 11 playoff games and are on a club-record seven-game postseason winning streak.
The victory displayed the Kings' considerable depth. Anze Kopitar had two assists, and in all, nine players figured in the scoring.
"It's huge for this team," said captain Dustin Brown, who had one assist. "This is what it has been for this team. We've got a lot of guys playing at high levels and 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, the first game in the playoffs was a big win for us and a lot of it had to do with [Mike] Richards.
"Quickie is probably the one guy that does it every night for us and you've got guys on different nights, doing different thing for us."
Carter's contribution was a welcome addition as he scored the first two goals on deflections in the second period to make it 3-0 and the final one on a rebound, at 12:56 of the third. The second and third goals came on five-on-three power plays.
It is his trademark to score goals in bunches. The Kings had been one for their previous 44 on the power play before his goals.
"It would be nice if he scored in bunches all the time," Kopitar said. "He's been playing hard for this team. There's people that are probably criticizing him for not scoring.
"He's brought to the table a lot more than goal-scoring. He's working hard. He's a big part of this team and tonight he got rewarded with three. It was just really good for him because he's been around the net for quite a lot of time.
"The puck bounced to his stick tonight and he was able to bury it."
Carter, who had scored just once in the first 10 games of the playoffs, admitted to a big sense of relief. He was asked if being snakebit around the net was a thing of the past.
"I hope so," he said. "Obviously I'd love to be scoring every game. They haven't come that easily for me the last little while here. It's something that I've been working on in practice, trying to get to the net during the game, get a couple greasy ones. I was lucky enough tonight."
While the Kings were firing up, Phoenix melted down. It's not often when a team completely self-destructs on the big stage, but the Coyotes complied, starting in the second period when they were already trailing, 2-0.
Captain Shane Doan took a five-minute major for boarding the Kings' Trevor Lewis, receiving an automatic game misconduct late in the second period. An even more dangerous-looking play occurred in the third period when Martin Hanzal ran Brown into the end boards, headfirst.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter took more of an issue with the hit on Brown.
"It's hard to say from the bench. I didn't look at it," he said. "But I don't think the puck was even close, was it? That's about it."
The Kings began the night with an unexpected lineup change when forward Colin Fraser had to leave the team in the afternoon because of family reasons. Taking his spot in the lineup was left wing Kyle Clifford, who had been out since Game 1 of the first-round series against Vancouver, having suffered a concussion.