The Phoenix Coyotes were off their game tonight, allowing the LA Kings several chances that they shouldn't have been able to convert and taking some bad, bad penalties in the 5-3 loss. The officials weren't helping either with several marginal calls that even had the Kings wondering what was going on. The early penalties certainly didn't help the Coyotes defensive game as they shied away from hitting after getting interference and cross checking calls on pretty standard plays. Pair that with the Coyotes taking 2 Too Many Men on the Ice penalties and it just seemed like the Coyotes' heads weren't in the game.
The First period wasn't bad for the Coyotes as the team outshot the Kings 11-4 in the opening period. they were largely in control. Shane Doan potted an easy Power Play goal halfway through the period after Robert Lang put a shot off of Jonathan Quick's blocker and the rebound landed on Doan's stick. From our seats you could see Doan's eyes get nice and big as he lifted the puck into his open side of the net. The guys did fairly well, but in the locker room, they must have thought they were going to roll over the Kings like they did in the season opener, because it wasn't the same team after intermission.
The second period looked somewhat like the first in that the Coyotes led in the shot total, but this is the point where the Refs started handing out penalties like candy to the Kings. The Kings have been the only team so far that we seem to do this terribly against on the PK. They scored twice against us on the Power play in the period. First Dustin Brown got a nice goal on which Ilya Bryzgalov didn't really have a chance. Anze Kopitar beat the PK defense and Jim Vandermeer had to cover both him and Brown. Kopitar took it to the outside and made a perfect pass after Bryzgalov committed for an easy goal. Bryz was visibly angry after the second goal of the night went in on a slap shot on a 5 on 3 power play for the Kings. The Kings did a good job of passing back and forth, but Jarret Stoll was able to slap it past as Bryz was screened a bit by both a Kings player and Adrian Aucoin. Radim Vrbata was able to tie the game up less that a minute later though as he got Quick to commit to the save and Vrbata lifted it over his leg and in.
The wheels came off in the third though as the passing was everywhere, the team stopped preventing the Kings from entering the zone, basically everything that has won them games seemed to go out the window. Early in the period Jared Stoll and Scott Parse got a turnover and came in on a 2 on 1. Parse made a nice pass to Stoll who faked Bryzgalov and streched in just past him for Stoll's second of the night. Wayne Simmonds got the 4th for the Kings as the Coyotes stood around waiting for a delayed penalty to be whistled. The puck just sat there in front after being deflected and he drove it home. Several Coyotes in the area, but no one bothered to put a stick on it. Good on SImmonds, but that was just a breakdown by the defense that allowed it to happen. It was unacceptable. Doan then came alive again and tried to win the game all on his own, scoring a pretty goal while holding off Jack Johnson and put it 5-hole on Quick. THe Coyotes kept trying to get something going with Doan getting another good chance shortly after, but couldn't make anything happen. Then with just over a minute remaining the Coyotes took anothe too many men penalty so they diodn't even really get much of a chance with the goalie pulled. Dustin Brown did take it down and put it in the EN a split second before the horn sounded to finish it 5-3.
It was a very disappointing game as the Coyotes started off looking alright even if a few passes went wrong. The penalties in the second period semed to really take the momentum away and made the Yotes wary of hitting really anyone after marginal cross-checking and interference calls. I hope this was just a case of looking past an opponent before a road-trip and not some larger problem.
Next Game: Monday @ New York Rangers