Phoenix has been as good as any team in the league when the confidence is rolling, using an 11-game winning streak in February to get back into the playoff race and a five-game surge to close out its first NHL division title.
The Kings had come through in this spot once before, defeating Vancouver on the road after failing to complete the sweep at home in Game 4.
They didn’t seem ready to do it again.
Riding the confidence carryover from Game 4, the Coyotes dominated early, controlling the puck, giving the Kings little room in the neutral zone or anywhere else. Phoenix had some good scoring chances early and Pyatt cashed in on a power play, redirecting Martin Hanzal’s one-timer in the slot 4:20 into the game.
Despite numerous other good chances, including a couple on a power play, the Coyotes couldn’t get another puck past Quick in the first period. Adding to it, the Kings snatched a little momentum back with Kopitar’s short-handed goal, on a redirect of a shot by Doughty after Smith was called for icing.
“We didn’t capitalize on a power play early, a couple other opportunities, couldn’t push the game along,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “We knew it was going to be a tight game. It ended up that way.”
The second period wound up being a shootout.
Pouliot gave Phoenix the lead back by flipping a backhander past Quick on a loose puck in front for his first career playoff goal. Doughty tied it a few minutes later, scoring from just inside the blue line on a shot Smith had trouble seeing through traffic.
Both teams had numerous scoring chances in a hectic third period, but both goalies made some superb saves.
They went back and forth in the overtime, too, until Penner finally ended it when a shot by Jeff Carter caromed out front to him in the slot.
“It’s the biggest goal of my career so far,” Penner said. “Hopefully, there are a couple more waiting in the finals.”
NOTES: Coyotes RW Radim Vrbata had an assist on Pyatt’s goal for his first point in eight games. … Los Angeles was 2 for 27 in the series on the power play after going 0 for 4 in Game 5. … Yandle had nine points in the playoffs, matching Dave Babych’s team record for a defenseman set in 1985. … The Kings are the seventh team to reach the Stanley Cup finals in 14 games (12-2) since the NHL went to a four-round best-of-seven series format in 1987.
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