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The Phoenix Coyotes actually played a pretty good game at times tonight. They had some offensive zone pressure on the Los Angeles Kings and maybe made Jonathan Quick sweat for a few seconds, particularly in the first period. Unfortunately, a goal early in the third period by series MVP(?) Dwight King was too much for the Coyotes to overcome particularly after the referees got involved later in the period.
With the Kings now holding a commanding 3-0 series lead, it's pretty much the end of the line for the Desert Dogs barring a miraculous comeback. I'd just like to see them win a game and wipe that grin off of Dustin Brown's face after he draws another retaliatory penalty.
Bullet Point Notes:
- Key Stats through 1: Shots 11-8 Coyotes; Faceoffs 12-6 Coyotes; Hits 14-13 Kings; Blocked Shots 3-1 Coyotes.
- Keith Yandle makes a beautiful feed to Daymond Langkow cutting between Mike Richards and Slava Voynov into the zone. Langkow fires a shot five hole that trickles through Jonathan Quick. 1-0 Coyotes!
- The lead is short lived as an ill-timed pinch by Oliver Ekman-Larsson and poor coverage by Michal Rozsival allows Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown to exploit a turnover by Lauri Korpikoski and Kopitar scores on the breakaway through Mike Smith. All tied at 1.
- Coyotes power play continues to be unable to generate chances, even if they have a bit of possession. Kings get two good opportunities shorthanded instead. Ugly.
- Key Stats through 2: Shots 15 each; Faceoffs 25-11 Coyotes; Hits 27-24 Kings; Blocked Shots 7-5 Coyotes.
- A terrible turnover by Michael Stone (who actually is having a pretty good game) leads to a lot of unnecessary Kings pressure. On a delayed penalty call, Dwight King comes out of the corner and snipes a wrister short side over the glove of Smith. 2-1 Kings.
- The power play differential in this game was 5-1 in favor of Los Angeles. When you control the puck as much as they have over the Coyotes, you expect them to draw more power plays, but the calls have been a tad bit questionable, particularly the "holding" call on Shane Doan after being taken down UFC style by Drew Doughty and the "slash" on Radim Vrbata knocking the stick out of Kopitar's one hand as he lunged for the puck...kinda weak calls in my opinion.
Five For Winning:
Stay get disciplined. The Kings are in the Coyotes heads for various reasons including their lead in the series. The Yotes need to stay disciplined and not do anything else stupid. For most of the game, the Coyotes were fine; OEL gets called for a retaliatory "cross check" after Brown goes down nice and easy and then the last two calls that I've already mentioned in the bullets. Not bad all things considered.
2. Win the faceoffs. This was a point of pride for the first two series but not something that the Yotes were able to carry into the Conference Finals. They need to not only win the faceoffs this game but control the puck for an extended period after that. Yes, Coyotes went 34-20 in the faceoff circle, but couldn't control a lot of those wins or set up plays.
3. Clear the zone. The Kings forecheck is one of their points of pride, a well deserved point of pride, but the Coyotes need to do something to limit that forecheck and one of the best ways to do that is keep them from having extended time in the Yote's zone. Nope, Kings just dominated the forecheck game particularly towards the end when the Coyotes were trying to get Smith pulled.
4. Score first. This one doesn't really need explanation. Yup, but the lead lasted under three minutes.
5. Play off the Kings' crowds energy. The Desert Dogs were able to do this in Chicago and Nashville, they feed all the negativity of their opponents crowd and they use it to do better. Since this is the first game we are going to learn if they can do this again. Coyotes didn't play bad, but the Kings are just a buzzsaw right now...no other way to put it.
Our Three ""
1. Anze Kopitar - just dominating the ice all over the place, Coyotes don't seem to have a response.
2. Jonathan Quick - he wasn't tested often, but he made the saves he needed to.
3. Referees - Dave Tippett is no Gretzky behind the bench who yelled and screamed about every call; if he's cursing out the refs, you know it was not the best work out there...they were pretty awful tonight.
Comment of the Night
The only hold I saw was Drew Doughty tackling him a la Darnell Docket. Such bullshit.
Game 4 back at the Staples Center on Sunday at noon Phoenix time as the Coyotes look to force a Game 5 back in Glendale on Tuesday night and extend the series...with a Clippers playoff game scheduled for that evening. Craziness in LA, so hopefully the Coyotes can just win in regulation to make things easier on the Staples Center crew.
For the LA perspective, check out our friends at Jewels from the Crown.