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Cullen: Carter's trick leads Kings past overmatched Coyotes

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Scott Cullen
5/16/2012 1:11:48 AM
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Jeff Carter scored a hat trick and the Los Angeles Kings dominated the Phoenix Coyotes throughout Game Two, on the way to a 4-0 win and a 2-0 lead in the series that seems even more commanding with the series shifting to Los Angeles for Game Three.

It was a long-awaited breakthrough for Carter, who had one goal in 10 playoff games entering Game Two.

Anze Kopitar had a pair of assists for the Kings, the fourth time in the last five games that he's recorded two points, giving him 13 playoff points, one behind Dustin Brown, who is second in playoff scoring.

The Kings made it their mission in Game Two to get in the fact of Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, bumping him at every opportunity -- not an unusual tactic when trying to throw off one of the year's best goaltenders -- and it seems to be working. Not that Smith is letting in bad goals, but the Kings onslaught is ultimately finding enough holes.

Only once all season did the Los Angeles Kings have back-to-back games with at least 40 shots on goal, yet they've done it in the first two games of this series.

On the other hand, Jonathan Quick had a relatively easy 24-save shutout for the Kings. It is the seventh straight game in which Quick has faced fewer than 30 shots on goal.

As the game started to get away from Phoenix, the Coyotes took several penalties, some that could lead to possible suspensions. Shane Doan drilled Trevor Lewis from behind, earning a five-minute major and game misconduct, but his may be the least troublesome.

Martin Hanzal plowed Dustin Brown into the end boards from behind, also earning five and a game, while Coyotes defenceman Derek Morris delivered a dangerous knee-on-knee check to Kings defenceman Rob Scuderi. The saving grace for any of the Coyotes is that it doesn't appear any Kings were injured on those plays.

Hanzal was involved physically throughout the game, finishing with a game-high seven hits, one more than Brown and Kings rookie Jordan Nolan, who had six hits in 9:32 of ice time.

And now the series heads to L.A. and the Coyotes appear to be overmatched, even if they are at full strength (ie. not missing any players due to suspension), with the Kings outscoring the Coyotes 8-2 and outshooting them 88-51 through the first two games. It doesn't figure to get easier for Phoenix when Los Angeles gets to set matchups to the home-ice advantage.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

Jeff Carter (Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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