Kings near series sweep, first conference final since 1993
LOS ANGELES — Drew Doughty posted a goal and two assists to lead the Los Angeles Kings to a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of this Western Conference semifinal series.
The Kings, seeded eighth, now hold a 3-0 lead and can become the first team to advance to the conference final when they host Game 4 on Sunday afternoon.
Vezina Trophy candidate Jonathan Quick stopped 18 shots while Mike Richards added a goal and an assist for Los Angeles, which has not played in a conference final since advancing to the Cup final in 1993.
“A lot of guys in this locker room have elevated their game,” said Doughty. “It hasn’t been easy for this team. We’ve had a lot of adversity this season. But the guys have stuck together and we’re all playing really good at the right time.”
Chris Stewart scored both goals while Brian Elliott gave up all four goals on 22 shots for the Blues, who face a big hole to climb out of if they want to advance to the conference final for the first time since 2001.
“We thought it might be seven games when the series started and that’s what it’s going to take now,” said Stewart. “We still feel we’re a better team than they are.”
The only goal of the first period belonged to the Kings as Justin Williams’ turnaround shot from the right circle hit off of Elliott’s leg and crept across the goal-line at the 13:33 mark.
The Blues scored just 1:13 into the second to tie the game. Kris Russell grabbed the puck in his own end, skated into the L.A. zone and dished the puck over to the left for Stewart to sneak it past Quick on the short side.
But the Kings got the lead back just 40 seconds later when Dwight King caught up to the puck near the right circle and flicked a quick shot past Elliott for his first career playoff goal.
L.A. made it 3-1 on the power play when Richards sneaked a shot in from a sharp angle at the right side with 9:31 to play in the frame.
The Blues cut the deficit to one 4:35 into the third when Stewart swept in a rebound from an Alex Pietrangelo shot. But Los Angeles responded again less than four minutes later when Richards skated in down the right wing and pulled up at the circle before passing it to the slot and Doughty’s slap shot trickled between the pads.
Quick made nine saves in the third to ensure a commanding series lead for the Kings.