The Los Angeles Kings seemed to be on their heels for most of the night and were outplayed by the speedy, resilient Coyotes, and finally Phoenix ended it in overtime, as Daymond Langkow took a shot from the side of the net that went off the stick of Jack Johnson and beat Jonathan Quick.
It only seemed like a matter of time, however. The Coyotes were applying pressure on the Kings for most of the night, and finally broke through in overtime. The Kings were lucky to get a point. They had a chance to win it with a power play to start the overtime period, but were unable to convert, and then late in overtime, the Coyotes decided that if the Kings didn’t want to win the game, then they would.
I’ve noticed a weird trend this season. Terry Murray always stresses “shot mentality” when he talks about improving the offense. Well, it seems like whenever the Kings get outshot, they win. However, when they outshoot their opponents, they lose. I decided to look into this to see if this was true or not. The Kings outshot the Coyotes 39-33 tonight, and after their overtime defeat, fall to 1-2-1 when outshooting their opponents. When they get outshot? They’re 5-0-1. So maybe improving the offense isn’t that simple, Terry. Drew Doughty returned to the lineup tonight, and was mediocre. Unfortunately, it is going to take some time for him to get into a groove. Hopefully not too long, though.
The worst part of this game, other than the loss, was after Mike Richards opened the scoring, the Kings’ disturbing trend of surrendering a goal almost immediately after scoring that haunted them all of last season came back to bite them again. You know, they scored two goals tonight. Yeah, you want more, especially when you get 39 shots on goal, but that’s not horrible. I guess. Quick didn’t really allow a bad goal, the overtime goal was just bad luck. I wouldn’t say the Kings played especially bad, they just got badly outplayed by the Coyotes late in the game, and it was only a matter of time before Phoenix broke the deadlock. Fortunately for the Kings, that didn’t come until overtime so they at least grabbed a point. Unfortunately for the Kings, they failed on a chance to win the game on a power play earlier in overtime, and were less than a minute away from sending the game to a shootout. Tough loss, but take the point and get ready for Colorado tomorrow, where we may very well see Jonathan Bernier in net for the Kings.
But before I get you set for that game, let’s quickly recap this one…
1st period: The Coyotes outshot the Kings 13-12 in a scoreless opening frame that saw the Kings fail on two power plays, while the Coyotes did not have one. Both teams traded pretty good chances, the best coming from Daymond Langkow, who stripped the puck from Willie Mitchell at the point after a Kings power play expired and was in on a breakaway but was stopped by Quick.
2nd period: 2:58 into the period, Dustin Brown worked the puck to Mike Richards in the slot from behind the net, and Richards beat Mike Smith for his 2nd goal of the year, and 10th point in as many games. Willie Mitchell also got an assist. However, as mentioned earlier, the Kings’ tendency to give up goals right after scoring them came back to bite them once again, as just 2:38 after Richards scored, at the 5:36 mark, Radim Vrbata got the puck in the slot and outwaited Quick and just skated to his right and fired into an empty net. It was his 2nd of the year. Martin Hanzal and David Schlemko picked up assists. Then at the 15:23 mark, Vrbata got another, his 2nd straight and 3rd of the year, as he came streaking down the right side and took a Martin Hanzal pass and beat Quick. Rostislav Klesla also picked up an assist. Despite outscoring the Kings 2-1, the Coyotes were outshot by the Kings 15-8 in the frame. The Coyotes went 0-for-1 on the power play, while the Kings didn’t have one.
3rd period: At the 6:30 mark of the period, Anze Kopitar tied it up with his 5th goal of the year. Trent Hunter took a shot that rebounded off of Smith and Kopitar knocked it in from Smith’s right. Matt Greene also got an assist, while Hunter picked up his 1st point as a King, after being a healthy scratch in the last four games. The Coyotes applied a ton of pressure late, and then got a power play, but couldn’t capitalize and ended up taking a late penalty to give the Kings a power play to start overtime. The Kings outshot the Coyotes 11-9 in the period, and 38-30 in regulation. Each team failed on a power play, while the Kings got another one with 14 seconds remaining in regulation. The Kings went 0-for-3 on the power play in regulation, while the Coyotes went 0-for-2.
Overtime: The Kings failed on their power play to start overtime, and only recorded one shot. Then, at the 4:16 mark of overtime, Daymond Langkow took a shot from the side of the net that hit Jack Johnson’s stick and beat Jonathan Quick. Ironically, Johnson had won the last two Kings games that were decided in overtime. The Coyotes outshot the Kings 3-1 in overtime, but the Kings outshot the Coyotes 39-33 on the night. The Kings went 0-for-1 on the power play in overtime, and 0-for-4 on the night. The Coyotes didn’t have one, and finished 0-for-2 on the power play.
So despite not getting the result they wanted, the Kings got a point in Phoenix, but will have no time to dwell on missing out on the second one as they play Sunday night in Colorado. The Avalanche are off to a strong 6-4-0 start to their season, but have lost two straight, and are 0-3-0 at home this season. Will the Kings have Simon Gagne back in the lineup? If so, who comes out? Trent Hunter? Scott Parse? Maybe even the struggling Dustin Penner? And Murray said that his plan was to start Quick in the game, but that the plan was in pencil and could be erased depending on what happened tonight. After not getting the win in Phoenix, will Murray turn to Jonathan Bernier for the game in Colorado? Stay tuned for a game preview coming sometime tomorrow before the puck drops at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT at the Pepsi Center.