Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 5/1/12
ST. LOUIS Coach Darryl Sutter had a good idea of what the Los Angeles Kings were getting into in advance of their second round playoff series that they now lead two games to none after a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center Monday night. "From a compete standpoint, if you want to be in a series against the St. Louis Blues, you better have boys that are willing to come out of it with a little bit of black and blue on 'em," the Kings coach said last week. It's something Dustin Penner knows all too well. Battling for a puck deep in his own zone, the 6'4, 242 pound winger was flattened by a clean T.J. Oshie hip check, which led to a Mike Richards-initiated scrum with Oshie in which he stuck up for his rattled teammate. "I'm a big fan of him," Penner said of Richards. "I think he's got a lot of fans. He arrives to every part of the ice with ill humor." Penner later tweeted his support to Richards, using a hashtag of "thatsleadership." It's not only leadership, it's some good chemistry shown between the two players who connected on a goal 31 seconds into the game that set the tone for a first period in which the Kings outscored the Blues 4-0. The line of Richards, Penner and Jeff Carter combined for five points in the first period to put Los Angeles in prime position to win a game that deteriorated into a physical and at times malevolent battle that featured 110 penalty minutes and plenty of the bumps, scrapes, and black and blue marks foretold by Sutter last week. It was also the Kings' seventh straight playoff road win, dating back to Games 2 and 5 in San Jose last April. Los Angeles is 5-0 on the road in the 2012 postseason, obviously a major foundation of what is beginning to resemble something special for a team that has only made it past the second round of the playoffs once since entering the NHL in the 1967-68 season. "We just kind of come out there, we kind of like playing against the other team's crowd," Drew Doughty said prior to Game 2. "They're all into it for them booing us or whatever it may beJust getting pucks in deep, forechecking them, hitting them as much as we can, and being able to beat a team in front of their own crowd is just a great feeling, and when we go home, we kind of got treated that way, too." The Kings are whipping up that old-fashioned recipe for winning road games: relying on goaltending and special teams. While the power play has been non-existent since the second game of the Vancouver series, Los Angeles' penalty killing has more than made up for any shortcomings. After an 0-9 effort Monday, the Blues are 0-12 with the man advantage in the series and a startling 0-26 against the Kings since the start of the regular season. They also allowed a shorthanded goal for the second game in a row, meaning Los Angeles has now outscored its opponents 4-3 when shorthanded this postseason. Dustin Brown earned an assist on Anze Kopitar's breathtaking deke around Brian Elliott for the shorthanded tally, giving him four shorthanded points through the team's first seven playoff games. Henrik Zetterberg was the last player to accomplish such a feat, though his five shorthanded points in the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs were notched in 22 games. The Kings' penchant for opportune goals also reared its welcome head in their road effort, with Justin Williams re-establishing a four-goal lead only 68 seconds after Andy McDonald opened the second period with a goal off a redirection 18 seconds in. "It's a big goal for us, right?" Sutter asked rhetorically. "They scored a goal. It was a shoot-in and our defensemen didn't respond to it, and we come right back and score again. It's a big goal." All of these facets, combined with a 27-save performance by Jonathan Quick, have the Kings in a favorable position heading back to Staples Center for Game 3 Thursday night. "Well, I know there are a lot of good players on our team," Sutter said after the game. "It's hard, getting them to play all together at the same time. You know, I just look at is as we're in a series. I don't look at an overview like that. We came here and we had a tough first period in the last game, and we had a good second and third. Tonight, we had an awesome first, and I don't think we played well after that. So, we've got some work to do here to get ready again."
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