I had a recap ready to go by the end of the first period. At that point it looked like the Coyotes had dug themselves a hole so deep they could never dig their way out.
The Coyotes had other ideas.
Phoenix mounted a mighty four goal comeback to tie the game at 4-4 early in the third, but were unable to climb all the way up the mountain, falling to the Los Angeles Kings by a final score of 7-4.
The Coyotes had absolutely no opportunity to settle in, as Antoine Vermette took a bad offensive zone penalty just 21 seconds in. The penalty kill success the Coyotes had enjoyed recently eluded them, as Anze Kopitar got his first goal of the season on a juicy rebound from Mike Smith.
If the Coyotes wanted to settle things down afterwards, they didn't get a chance to. Dwight King scored just four minutes later on a feed from Kopitar to make it 2-0. Though the Coyotes would get a power play, they weren't able to convert. Shortly afterwards, Jordan Nolan scored on a beautiful 2 on 1 play to give the Kings a 3 goal lead. The onslaught continued with a Dwight King tip-in goal to go down 4-0 at the first intermission. Phoenix was outshot 15-5 in that period, and actually might consider themselves lucky to only be down by 4.
Dave Tippett opted to make a goalie change between periods, so Thomas Greiss got to play the rest of the evening for the Desert Dogs. By comparison, the second period was substantially more successful than the first. Of course, that isn't exactly a high bar to leap over.
Jeff Halpern got a much deserved goal on a redirected point shot by Zbynek Michalek to make the score 4-1. Overall, the 4th line played a strong game thanks in part to the extra ice time a blowout brings on. It would not remain a blowout for long however, as Martin Hanzal bounced a puck off of the back of Jonathan Quick to cut the Kings' lead in half. The Coyotes would go into the 2nd intermission down 4-2.
Phoenix apparently decided they weren't going quietly into that good night. Martin Hanzal scored his second on the power play, and moments later Shane Doan tied the game on a very soft goal by Quick. Phoenix went back on the power play a couple minutes later, and a goal would get scored. Too bad it wasn't the Coyotes'. Mike Richards notched his first of the season (which I take partial responsibility for) shorthanded to give the Kings a 5-4 lead.
The last 10 minutes of the game played out much like the first 10. Matt Frattin got his first of the season on a deflected Drew Doughty shot to give the Kings a 6-4 lead. They would not relinquish this one, and the game ended 7-4 thanks to a third goal from Dwight King into the empty net.
Our Three Stars of the Game
3rd Star - Mike Richards. Although he only recorded one goal in this game, it was the game winner. That shorty reversed all of the positive work the Coyotes had done to get back into this game.
2nd Star - Anze Kopitar. Opened the scoring for the Kings, contributed two assists, and had a strong game in the faceoff circle, winning 15 of his 26 draws.
1st Star - Dwight King. Three goals on the night, including the last one that Mike Smith allowed. Also scored the empty-netter to quash any hopes of a second comeback.
- Despite the expectations of a physical and chippy game, there were virtually no extra-cirriculars tonight.
- Both Rostislav Klesla and David Moss left the game due to injuries. Moss would return while Klesla (lower body) would not.
- The last time the Phoenix Coyotes surrendered seven goals in a single game was against the Tampa Bay Lightning on February 23rd, 2011. The Coyotes lost that game 8-3.
- This is a game Mike Ribeiro would like to forget. He had his seven game point streak snapped and he went a paltry 25% in the faceoff circle.
- Thomas Greiss was the only netminder with a save percentage abouve 90%. Mike Smith finished with a .733 mark and Jonathan Quick ended the game at .857.
- The 4th line of Brandon Yip, Jeff Halpern, and Paul Bissonnette looked pretty respectable tonight. They also ignited the scoring streak the 'Yotes went on in the 2nd and 3rd periods.
- Lauri Korpikoski did not make the trip to Los Angeles with the club. It remains to be seen if he will be ready to go on Saturday.
The Coyotes will look to take out their frustrations on a struggling Edmonton Oilers team this Saturday. The game is a rare noon start time at Jobing.com Arena, with parking lots opening at 8 AM for tailgating.