Kings trounce Ducks to advance
The Los Angeles Kings scored three goals in the first 16 minutes on Friday en route to a 6-2 NHL playoff series-clinching victory over the Anaheim Ducks.
The Kings won their second straight game in the Western Conference second-round series to seal a four-games-to-three triumph and book a Western Conference finals showdown with reigning Stanley Cup champions Chicago.
The Chicago Blackhawks advanced on Tuesday with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Minnesota Wild that gave the Windy City team a 4-2 series triumph.
The Blackhawks beat the Kings in five games in the Western Conference finals last season en route to the NHL crown.
Justin Williams, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards all scored for the Kings in the first period to stake Los Angeles to a commanding lead on the Ducks' home ice in Anaheim, just 26 miles (42 km) south of downtown Los Angeles.
Williams equalled Wayne Gretzky for second all-time with his sixth career game seven goal.
Anze Kopitar, Marian Gaborik and Tanner Pearson also scored for the Kings, and Jonathan Quick made 25 saves to help the Kings claim the first post-season series between the Southern California rivals.
After the Kings chased 20-year-old rookie goaltender John Gibson on Kopitar's first goal of the series, which made it 4-0, Kings fans chanted "This is our house."
The Kings, who won the Stanley Cup in 2012, improved to 8-2 in elimination games dating back to 2011.
"They know what they're doing in these situations," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, "and they proved it."
It was a disappointing final NHL contest for 43-year-old Finn Teemu Selanne.
"Obviously it's a pretty sad feeling right now," said the Ducks veteran, who is retiring after 23 seasons in the NHL. "I knew it would either be a big party or a big disappointment. It's a big disappointment."
Williams poked his second attempt across the goal line from the crease on the power play at 4:30 of the first period.
Carter made it 2-0 when he finished a breakaway with a backhand at 8:48. Richards sent Anaheim tumbling further with his second goal of the playoffs at 15:12 for a 3-0 lead.
The Kings out-shot the Ducks 16-6 in the first period, and it was 5-0 before Kyle Palmieri scored late in the second period for the Ducks. Corey Perry made it 5-2 early in the third.
The Kings will open the Western Conference finals against the Blackhawks on Sunday in Chicago.
The winners of the series will face the winners of the Eastern Conference finals between the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals.