LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dustin Brown scored two goals, Jonathan Quick made 23 saves, and the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings finished an improbable four-game sweep of the St. Louis Blues with a 3-1 victory Sunday, advancing to the conference finals for the second time in club history.
Rookie Jordan Nolan scored an early goal for the Kings, the first No. 8 seed in NHL history to eliminate their conference's top two seeds in the same postseason.
After steamrolling top-seeded Vancouver and second-seeded St. Louis with eight wins in nine games, the Kings will face Phoenix-Nashville winner in the Western Conference finals. Phoenix leads that series 3-1
Los Angeles won despite its weakest effort of the postseason, clinging to its 2-1 first-period lead through 40 minutes dominated by St. Louis. The Kings didn't adapt well to an unusually early start time, yet Quick made a handful of stellar saves before Brown scored into an empty net with 25.8 seconds left.
The Kings made their only previous trip to the conference finals in 1993, when Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille propelled Los Angeles past Toronto and into their only Stanley Cup finals, where they lost to Montreal. The Kings won one playoff series in the ensuing 17 seasons before routing the Presidents' Trophy-winning Canucks in five first-round games last month.
Kevin Shattenkirk scored his first career playoff goal for the Blues. They were outscored 15-6 in the series to end their most successful season in more than a decade.
DEVILS 4, FLYERS 2
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Dainius Zubrus scored two goals and New Jersey rallied from an early two-goal deficit and pushed Philadelphia to the brink of elimination in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal.
Zubrus put New Jersey ahead 3-2 late in the second period and iced the game with an empty-net goal in the final minute. The Devils lead the series 3-1.
Petr Sykora and Marek Zidlicky also scored for the Devils, who can advance to their first conference final since 2003 with a win in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
In winning their third straight, the Devils let goalie Martin Brodeur have an easy night on his 40th birthday, outshooting Philadelphia 43-22. He even picked up an assist on Zubrus' final goal.
Scott Hartnell and Claude Giroux scored first-period goals for the Flyers.