Shane Doan scored in the first period, Mike Smith made 25 saves, and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the host Nashville Predators, 1-0, on Friday night to grab a three-games-to-one lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.
By winning their first game in May, the Coyotes can advance to the conference finals with a win in Game 5 on Monday night in Arizona.
The Predators played with forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn benched for a second straight game, as coach Barry Trotz decided to stick with the lineup that won, 2-0, on Wednesday night. When Radulov and Kostitsyn were announced as scratches, some fans cheered. They had been suspended the previous game for breaking curfew.
Nashville thought it tied the game with 7 minutes, 12 remaining. But officials waved off the power-play goal because a whistle blew before the puck crossed the line.
The Los Angeles Kings' improbable playoff run makes more sense with each victory. This talented team has traded in its season-long inconsistency for metronomic precision, and the Western Conference's top two teams haven't been able to interrupt it.
Although the Kings are eighth seeds, even the powerful Blues agree they've been an unstoppable force so far - and St. Louis has just one more chance to slow it down.
Drew Doughty had a goal and two assists, Jonathan Quick made 18 saves, and the Kings moved to the brink of an unlikely second-round sweep with a 4-2 victory over the Blues in Game 3 on Thursday night.
Ex-Flyers captain Mike Richards scored Los Angeles' first power play goal in six games before setting up Doughty's clinching goal with 11:48 to play for the Kings, who methodically improved to 7-1 in the postseason with their third straight dominant win over No. 2 St. Louis.
"When you have success, you gain confidence, and we've been playing the same system and the same style for a while now," said Richards, who registered a Gordie Howe hat trick.
"We're maybe a little surprised it's going like this, but we knew going into every game we have a chance to win."