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LA Kings finish off Blues with 4 straight wins

Saturday - 5/11/2013, 5:58pm  ET

Los Angeles Kings' Drew Doughty and goalie Jonathan Quick(32) celebrate their team's 2-1 win against the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series in Los Angeles, Friday, May 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Dustin Penner didn't exactly expect to score when he threw a 60-foot slap shot at the St. Louis net in the final second of the second period.

Then again, he knows nobody scores unless they shoot.

"You might as well try," Penner said with a shrug. "You never know if you don't throw it on net."

And with a fortunate deflection off a Blues stick, Penner got the goal that put the reigning Stanley Cup champions' title defense into the second round.

Penner scored the tiebreaking goal with 0.2 seconds on the clock, and the Kings advanced with their fourth straight victory over St. Louis, 2-1 in Game 6 on Friday night.

Jonathan Quick made 21 saves and Drew Doughty scored his first goal of the postseason as the champs finished off fourth-seeded St. Louis.

The Blues seemed poised to head into the final minutes with ample momentum after Chris Stewart's tying goal early in a period dominated by St. Louis. Instead, Penner heeded his teammates' instructions to shoot from just inside the blue line -- and his rocket of a shot glanced off St. Louis defenseman Roman Polak's stick blade and beat Elliott for his second goal of the playoffs.

The clock ran out while Penner's slap shot rattled around in Elliott's net, but video replay confirmed the puck entered the net in plenty of time.

"I was trying to look at the clock, to see if it counted," Kings center Mike Richards said. "It all happened pretty quick. That's a great feeling."

The goal -- officially with 0.2 seconds left -- entered Kings lore alongside Penner's overtime score to end last season's Western Conference finals in Phoenix.

"When the game means a lot more, it's definitely a lot more fun to play," said Penner, who spent part of the season in coach Darryl Sutter's doghouse as a healthy scratch. "These types of games bring out the best in this team."

Indeed, the Kings held up well under enormous pressure from the hungry Blues: Every game in this bitter, physical series was decided by one goal, and Quick allowed just 10 goals in the six-game series. The Blues won the first two at home, but the Kings responded with four straight gritty victories, winning a playoff series after trailing 0-2 for just the second time in franchise history.

Elliott stopped 14 shots for the Blues, who were eliminated by Los Angeles for the second straight season, this time despite taking a 2-0 series lead. St. Louis physically beat up the Kings, who responded with hard-nosed play of their own, but Quick outplayed Elliott by a minor margin.

"What I'm going to tell them is it's not good enough," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "If you want to be a champion, it's not good enough. You can't allow the goalie to outwork you. If you want to be a champion, you're going to have to find a way. ... We took everything to the beach, but we didn't finish putting it in the water."

Los Angeles has won 10 straight games at Staples Center since March, and its sellout crowd waved white towels and roared as the Kings became the first Stanley Cup champion in three years to advance to the second round.

The defending champs won't know who they'll face next until Anaheim and Detroit finish their series Sunday night. If the second-seeded Ducks win, Southern California's two NHL teams will meet in the playoffs for the first time.

The Blues seriously tested the Kings, whose title defense already has been tougher than last season's championship run in one respect. That eighth-seeded club roared to a 3-0 series lead in all four matchups and beat the Western Conference's top three seeds during a 16-4 rampage through the postseason.

The difference yet again was Quick, who showed off his Conn Smythe Trophy form while stopping every shot in the third period. He stopped 167 of 177 shots in the series (.944 save percentage).

"We hit a few posts, and left a couple sitting right there in the crease," Blues captain David Backes said. "It's beginning to be a broken record. We didn't get the job done. We were up 2-0, and to lose four straight, it's pretty sour right now."

The Kings went ahead with 7
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