LA Kings defeat Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 in OT to advance to Stanley Cup finals
Cars pass a darkened Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — The Clippers couldn't do it, the Lakers fizzled, but the Los Angeles Kings fought their way into the final round of postseason play after they defeated the Phoenix Coyotes Tuesday in overtime to advance to the Stanley Cup finals.
Dustin Penner knocked in the game-winning goal with 2:18 left in overtime in Glendale, Arizona to put away the Coyotes after a grinding 4-3 battle in the desert.
"I got a lucky bounce," Penner told reporters after the game. "I just waited for it to settle down, and I got a chance to get it in the net."
Downtown waitstaff, restaurants, and bars: rejoice.
By beating Phoenix four-games-to-one, the Kings next will play the winner of the New York Rangers - New Jersey Devils series for Lord Stanley's Cup. It's doubtful the Kings care who they draw or that they will not have home ice as L.A. set an NHL record with their 8th road victory during the playoffs.
After Penner's game-winning goal, the Coyotes howled at the refs, the Kings (who were lined up ready to shake their hands), and anyone who would listen.
But Phoenix had no one to blame but themselves when during a crucial moment in the 3rd period they blew a two-man advantage. While the Kings played solid defense with just three defenders, Phoenix's Martin Hanzal was called for interference and within minutes the Kings were the ones on the power play.
The only other time L.A. made it to the Stanley Cup finals was in 1993 when Wayne Gretzky, Marty McSorley and the Kings lost to the Montreal Canadiens.
The Kings are now the second #8 seed to reach the finals. In 2006, Edmonton was also an 8-seed who made it through the playoffs only to fall to the Carolina Hurricanes in a thrilling seven-game finals.
The first game of this year's finals will be May 30 at either Madison Square Garden (if the Rangers win) or at Prudential Center (if the Devils win). The first Kings home game at Staples Center will be Monday night, June 4.
2012 Stanley Cup Finals schedule:
Game 1: Wed., May 30, 8 p.m. Kings at Eastern Champion
Game 2: Sat., June 2, 8 p.m. Kings at Eastern Champion
Game 3: Mon., June 4, 8 p.m. Eastern Champion at Kings @ Staples Center
Game 4: Wed., June 6, 8 p.m. Eastern Champion at Kings @ Staples Center
Game 5: Sat., June 9, 8 p.m. Kings at Eastern Champion
Game 6: Mon., June 11, 8 p.m. Eastern Champion Kings @ Staples Center
Game 7: Wed., June 13, 8 p.m. Kings at Eastern Champion
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