Los Angeles Kings vs Phoenix Coyotes Recap: Coyotes Yandle Kings

USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Coyotes kept their playoff hopes alive with a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.

The Phoenix Coyotes defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 in their final meeting of the regular season.

The Coyotes' win comes as the team hopes to stay alive in the playoff picture and avoid a fire sale at Wednesday's trade deadline.

[Complete Coverage] - [Los Angeles Reaction]

[Event Summary] - [Full Play-by-Play] - [TOI Report] - [Faceoff Report]

With Mike Smith still injured, Jason LaBarbera got the start and had his best game of the season against his former team. LaBarbera stopped 39 of 40 shots and said after the game that he currently feels, "the best I ever felt." He added that it is "way easier" to play as a starter than wondering when he will ever play again as a back-up.

The offense was led by Keith Yandle who scored a pair of goals from deep inside the offensive zone. He is always given the "green light" to jump up in the play by Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett.

An encouraging sign for the Coyotes was that they were finally able to put a game away in the third period. They entered with a 2-1 lead and stayed aggressive, for the most part, until Yandle stretched the lead to two with less than three minutes to play.

"We've been in a lot of one goal games, and it seems like we couldn't get the break to get that third goal. Tonight, we got that third goal," Tippett said.

Yandle opened the scoring mid-way through the first period after one-timing a Kyle Chipchura pass into the Los Angeles net. The lead was short lived however, as Justin Williams tied the game after a shot hit Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone up high and bounced into the net.

The Coyotes would open the second period scoring about the same time they opened the first. Rob Klinkhammer back handed a pass to a driving Matthew Lombardi. Lombardi's back-hand shot hit both posts along the ice before finally going in.

Yandle iced the game with a goal from a nearly impossible angle to give the Coyotes a 3-1 lead. Yandle slapped in a puck the rebounded off the side-board past an unsuspecting Jonathan Quick.

Paw Prints

  • The Coyotes began the night with a ceremony celebrating Steve Sullivan's 1000th career NHL game. He would go on to play only 9:06 in the game.
  • Phoenix improve their record to 10-0-1 this season (108-4-5 all time under Tippett) when leading after two periods.
  • Klinkhammer's assist extending his point streak to five (2-4-6).
  • There were 58 combined hits in the game, 34 by Phoenix.
  • Shane Doan led all players with nine hits.

Five For Winning

1. Score First - We've said this one so often it really needs no further explanation at this point. The Coyotes did manage to score first as Yandle scored his seventh goal of the season.

2. Avoid the Chippy Stuff - Something tells me Shane Doan and Drew Doughty will meet for some extra-cirriculars at some point during this game. While that's to be expected, the Coyotes can't afford to have this game devolve into a penalty-fest. Their PK unit just isn't good enough to hold back a team with the front end skill that LA has. This was by far the cleanest and un-chippy (for lack of a better term) game between the Kings and the Yotes in a long, long time.

3. Win the Possession Battle - The defense doesn't look as good as it has in previous years, and part of the problem is the Coyotes have been chasing the puck for long stretches in previous games. They need to win faceoffs and cycle in the offensive zone to ease the pressure on the defense. Phoenix controlled the pace of the game throughout and looked like the better team.

4. Stay Hot - Radim Vrbata and Rob Klinkhammer have been the primary goal-scorers for this team of late. That will need to continue in the absence of production elsewhere in the lineup. While neither player had a goal, Klinkhammer had the nicest pass of the game, as he assisted on Lombardi's second period goal.

5. Win - The Kings are well above the Coyotes in the standings, so giving up a charity point isn't really that big of a deal. No matter how they do it, the Coyotes need to come away with 2 points from this game. I default to the "Did the Phoenix Coyotes Win" Twitter feed. It said yes.

Our Three Stars Of The Game

1. Jason LaBarbera: Stopped 39 of 40 shots and the goal he did allows was a lucky bounce of a Coyotes player.

2. Keith Yandle: A pair of goals and an all-around solid night for the two-time all-star.

3. Kyle Chipchura: Two assists including a great set-up for Yandle's first goal.

Game Highlights


Looking Ahead

Phoenix will continue its three-game home stand on Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings. It will be the second of back-to-back games against the teams that have knocked the Coyotes out of the playoffs the last three seasons (DET in 2010 and 2011, LA in 2012).

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