It took them nearly 10 months but the Phoenix Coyotes finally got a little bit of revenge against the team that cost them a chance at the Stanley Cup.
The Coyotes dominated the Los Angeles Kings for the first 35 minutes of the game and in doing so, gave themselves a 4-0 lead. Phoenix would go on to win 5-2 and defeat the Kings for the first time since game four of the Western Conference Finals last May.
Phoenix got on the board first as Mikkel Boedker skated through two Kings and around another, before putting a wrist shot past Jonathan Quick. The Coyotes proceeded to kill off two penalties before adding to their one-goal lead. Shane Doan skated across the top of the crease and tipped a Derek Morris shot past Quick. Antoine Vermette almost made the game 3-0 when his wrap around attempt was blocked at the goal line by the left pad of Quick. The Yotes controlled the majority of play in the opening period, especially after the first TV timeout. Aggressive defense in the neutral zone was key to the Coyotes' first period success.
The Coyotes would build on their lead with a Boedker power play goal 3:27 into the second period. Boedker skated from the perimeter to the middle of the ice before wristing his second goal of the game past Quick. "In the offensive zone, he was very good tonight," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said, "When he has the puck, he can be a very dangerous player."
A phenomenal stick-lift by Doan led to the Coyotes taking a 4-0 lead. Doan kept the puck in the zone and in his possession before shooting the puck on net. Torres tapped in the rebound for his fifth goal of the season. LA finally got on the board 37:37 into the game as Mike Richards slapped the puck past a screened Smith on the power play.
A questionable slashing call of Morris allowed the Kings to crawl back into the game as Dustin Brown scored to cut the Yotes lead to two. Rob Klinkhammer continues to tell coaches, with his play, that he does not want to go back to Maine. The 6' 3" forward described himself as an "energy" player on Saturday but has been much more than that in Portland and now in Phoenix. "I consider myself a late bloomer," Klinkhammer said, "It always starts with energy for me. The offense and other stuff come with the territory."
Klinkhammer's two-on-one goal allowed the fans at Jobing.com Arena to exhale as the Kings dominated the first half of the third period.
- Tuesday's game was the 250th career game for Mike Smith.
- Both first period goals by the Coyotes were scored exactly 32 seconds after an LA penalty expired.
- The Coyotes improved their record to 108-13-16 under Dave Tippett when scoring first.
- Phoenix is 71-2-3 under Tippett when scoring four or more goals
- Smith is now 9-2-1 against the Kings in the regular season.
- If you did not get a chance to see the game, the Coyotes elected to wear their white jerseys at the request of the Kings.
- Attendance: 15,075
Five for Winning
1. Don't Get Pinned In. The Kings have a tough fore-check to handle. The Coyotes need to quick to retrieve pucks and the forwards need to help support the D even more than usual. Unlike Saturday's game, the Coyotes' forwards did a good job back-checking and helping out the D. The team defense 5-on-5 was superb.
2. Power Play Production. The Coyotes PP numbers have been slowly dropping. The Kings have average PK. The Yotes are going to need every advantage against the Champs. The Coyotes went 1/3 with the man-advantage with the one goal turning out to be the game-winner.
3. No Mental Lapses. The Kings are an opportunistic bunch. They pressure and pressure just waiting for their opponent to make a mistake. The Coyotes have been making more than their fare this season. Tuesday's game was a much cleaner game all-around for the Coyotes and a lack of critical mental errors was key in the Coyotes picking up two points.
4. Better Goaltending. Average Mike Smith isn't going to cut it. No soft goals and a bit of standing on one's head wouldn't hurt either. 31-33 overall including 28-28 at even strength. A good night for Smitty.
5. Muzzle Muzzin. The young King's D-man is on a bit of a roll. He has scored 3 goals and has 3 assisted on 3 more in the team's last 4 games. Keep him off the score sheet. Muzzin did manage to get a power play assist but he also committed all three Los Angeles penalties.
Our Three Stars Of The Game
1. Mikkel Boedker: A pair of goals including the game-winner.
2. Mike Smith: Only two goals allowed with a save percentage of .939
3. Rob Klinkhammer: A goal and a game-high six hits.
The Coyotes will begin a four-game road trip starting on Thursday. They play St. Louis on Thursday, followed by Columbus on Saturday and the Kings next Monday and Tuesday. This road trip will be the longest of the season.