Not a lot went wrong for us last night. As someone that's watched the Coyotes a lot over the past few years, this squad knew what they were doing like never before. The only weak spot we saw in our team last night was the Penalty Kill. That's something we have got to work on.
Radim Vrbata made an immediate impact scoring 2 goals in the game. Personally, I was concerned after seeing him early in the preseason being weak on the puck, but tonight he was using his speed to get free of defenders. He looked like the Radim Vrbata that scored 25 goals with us back in the day rather than the one that was ineffective in Tampa and ended up in the Czech Republic.
Ilya Bryzgalov made a lot of really great saves, and while he did get 3 goals against, they were typically on chances where he had already blocked one or two and the puck couldn't get cleared. Not a bad performance in net all things considered.
Read after the jump for the full recap...
Radim Vrbata opened the scoring with a slapshot from the top of the circle. Recieving a long stretch pass from Ed Jovanovski from the goal line to the opposite blue line just skated in and blasted it. The shot certainly surprised Jonathan Quick, who couldn't glove it. He instead simply covered his head with the glove. Late in the period Matthew Lombardi tried passing to Scottie Upshall on a 2 on 1, but the puck went off of the stick of Matt Greene, who was sprawled on the ice trying to block it, and into the net.
Daniel Winnik got his first goal of the season when he deflected a shot from the point by Zbynek Michalek past Quick. That's a good one for Winnik to get early as he struggled mightily last year to find any sort of goal scoring touch. That's at least one monkey off of his back. The Kings would get one goal back on the Power Play mid-way through the period. Anze Kopitar would get the goal into an open side of the net. It was a hard earned goal as Bryzgalov had blocked several attempts before the Kings could get it in. But the Coyotes kept allowing the Kings PP to collapse the box and get close. THey couldn't seem to clear the puck either, so it was just repeated pressure. Radim Vrbata would later get his second of the game when the Kings couldn't complete a break out. Petr Prucha helped contain and fed Vrgy for a dribbler that went right between Quick's pads.The Kings would again score on the power play late in the 2nd when Alex Frolov blast one from the blueline on the 4 on 3. Michael Handzus screened Bryz on the play and he never had a chance.
Just 30 seconds into the 3rd Scottie upshall wristed one past Quick to make it 5-2. Shane Doan passed it to Upshall, but a Kings player deflected it just slightly so that the puck was in perfect position to snap it for a goal. It was fast one because no one realized Upshall was even there and then BAM! Goal. Robert Lang then made it 6-2 at the 8:25 mark. Mikkel Boedker pushed the puck into the zone with a burst of speed. He wristed a shot that Quick blocked right into the slot. Lang managed to find it pretty quickly and lifted the puck right under the crossbar. Drew Doughty would make it a little closer, scoring, once again, on the power play to make it 6-3. Traffic in front helped, but Doughty got a cross ice pass from Anze Kopitar and Doughty snuck it between Bryz and the post as he tried to shift over. The fans in LA were not very pleased with the outcome as with the clock winding down the boobirds came out for them.
The Coyotes will be working heavily on the penalty kill between now and Wednesday I imagine. Every one of the Kings' goals were scored with us on the kill. We need to find ways to keep the opposition from collapsing and pressuring them on the kill. LA is one of the stronger PP teams, but we can't expect to score 6 every night and are going to need those units to do better.
Player of the game:
#17 / Right Wing / Phoenix Coyotes
Jun 13, 1981
***2 goals, +1 and really showed some good moves and speed tonight.