Found May 14, 2012 on Fox Sports Arizona:
Los_angeles_kings_2b09
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Right now, there is no stopping the Los Angeles Kings' top line. There is only limiting it, or trying to anyway. The Coyotes learned that the hard way Sunday night, dropping Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals 4-2 and now face the challenge of finding a way to counteract the red-hot line of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. The line combined Sunday night for two goals and two assists, having their way with a Coyotes defense that has been dominant of late. "Kopitar's a great player, Brown's a great player and Williams makes both of them better," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "They've got a good line and you've got to make sure you limit their free ones. We can't give them free ones -- free opportunities, second-chance opportunities." The trio's performance Sunday, with goals from Brown and Kopitar, was simply a continuation of the line's dominance against each opponent it's faced so far. The top-seeded Vancouver Canucks had no answer nor did the second-seeded St. Louis Blues. Brown, Kopitar and Williams have now combined for 32 points this posteason and are responsible for 13 of the team's 31 goals. With seven of those goals, including the difference maker Sunday, Brown leads the team and ranks fourth among all players in the playoffs. The Kings outshot the Coyotes 48-2 Sunday, with Brown, Kopitar and Williams taking 15 -- nearly a third of the team's total. The game had Coyotes coach Dave Tippett thinking back to Game 1 of the last round, when the Predators outshot his team 42-24. "We leave this game just like we did against Nashville, where we know there's some adjustments we need to make," Tippett said. "We know there are some parts of our game that have to be better. The only difference (tonight) is we didn't get the fortunate outcome that we did against Nashville." Tippett wasn't interested in complimenting the play of the Kings' top line, or even talking about it. He said he's instead going to focus first on fixing his team's issues. That work will have to come quickly with Game 2 on Tuesday, and the line opposing Brown, Kopitar and Williams is already thinking about the necessary adjustments. "We've just got to be more physical in the their defense, getting in there aggressively and not sit back so much," Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski said. "You can't expect to win a lot of games just hanging in there. One of our strengths has been pressure. We let them off too easily." That passiveness on the offensive end allowed the Los Angeles defense to clear the zone with ease, creating plenty of good opportunities, many of which would have resulted in goals in against most net minders. The problem, though, is the Coyotes may not be able to match the line with its skill. They struggled Sunday to match the physicality of the Kings' top line. Thusly, the burden falls on them to simply outplay them offensively. "We've just got to come flying into the first (period)," Korpikoski said. "It's no so much tactical stuff, it's just letting yourself play, getting in there, having fun and working hard." The Coyotes have displayed in both previous series this postseason they can overcome an opponent led by superior skill players. They dispatched the Blackhawks despite Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. They got past Nashville and the likes of Andrei Kostitsyn and Alexander Radulov. The difference this series is the opposing top line may be playing its best hockey all season. No other trio seems even close to their level right now. And from listening to Brown speak Sunday, the confidence that comes with a roll like his line is on lately was exceedingly clear. Brown knows the Coyotes will try to adjust for Game 2; he just doesn't seem concerned. "I'm not sure what they're going to do to stop us," Brown said. "But it's one of those things where they're going to make adjustments and it's up to us as players to make adjustments in game to be effective and have an impact on Game 2."
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