LOS ANGELES — The Clarence Campbell Bowl was in Staples Center, waiting to be presented by commissioner Gary Bettman to the Western Conference champions. The Kings' fans gathered downtown shortly after dawn, eager to witness a series sweep.
And then Captain Coyote and his goalie crashed the party.
Shane Doan scored two goals, Mike Smith made 36 saves in his third playoff shutout, and the Coyotes avoided playoff elimination with a 2-0 victory in Game 4 of the conference final Sunday.
Phoenix snapped the Kings' eight-game winning streak and soundly outplayed an opponent that had been on an 11-1 run through the postseason.
"We recognize we put ourselves in a tough position, (but) we also know it has been done," said Doan, Phoenix's captain since 2003 and the sole remaining member of the franchise that left Winnipeg in 1996.
"I guess that's what sports are all about, trying to do something that someone hasn't done for a while, try to do things (when) the odds are kind of stacked against you."
Phoenix is trying to become the fourth team in NHL history to rally from an 0-3 series deficit.
Los Angeles was shut out for the first time in the postseason.
"I think (Sunday) was more about the Phoenix Coyotes playing a good game," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "They executed really well, and that's the bottom line."
First Period—1, Phoenix, Doan 4 (Whitney), 14:19 (pp). Penalties—Whitney, Pho (roughing), 1:15; Stoll, LA (cross-checking), 6:52; Yandle, Pho (roughing), 8:12; Fraser, LA (slashing), 8:12; Aucoin, Pho (hooking), 9:24; Williams, LA (goaltender interference), 13:54.
Second Period—2, Phoenix, Doan 5 (Vermette), 11:10. Penalties—Doan, Pho (slashing), 4:09; Yandle, Pho (roughing), 13:09; Martinez, LA (holding), 14:26.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Doan, Pho (roughing), 3:49; Morris, Pho (roughing), 3:49; Richardson, LA (roughing), 3:49; Vermette, Pho (hooking), 19:53. Shots—Phoenix 5-9-7—21. Los Angeles 10-13-13—36. Power-play opportunities—Phoenix 1 of 3; Los Angeles 0 of 6. Goalies—Phoenix, Smith 9-6-0 (36 shots-36 saves). Los Angeles, Quick 11-2-0 (21-19).
Torts: Devils dive; Devils: Torts comical
NEW YORK — Rangers coach John Tortorella lobbed a list of complaints at what he considers to be the diving, pick-setting Devils in the wake of a one-game suspension the NHL levied on wing Brandon Prust.
Prust, penalized for throwing an elbow at the head of the Devils' Anton Volchenkov in Saturday's Game 3 win, will miss tonight's East final Game 4.
Tortorella began by accusing the Devils of embellishing to draw penalties. "We tell our players, 'Don't stay down on the ice. Get up.' I'll leave it at that. If we want to start discussing officials with the media, I have a long list here."
He then began to air it.
Tortorella said the Devils set picks during power plays to set up shots for Ilya Kovalchuk and prevent the Rangers from getting into position to block them. He also said forward Dainius Zubrus elbowed New York defenseman Anton Stralman and New Jersey captain Zach Parise launched himself into defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Neither of those players, nor Prust, was penalized.
"Comical," responded Devils coach Pete DeBoer, who irked the Rangers with his comment that Prust was "headhunting."