Fans waited eagerly in Glendale just to catch a glimpse of their favorite performers after not seeing them for quite some time. And for those that were not going to the One Direction concert, there was a hockey game as well.
The game's atmosphere was strange to say the least. The lack of music and a PA announcer made the game feel much more like a practice than a preseason game.
Between prolonged bouts of hearing oneself think, the Arizona Coyotes managed to beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 in the first of two rookie games. Tuesday's game saw a little bit of everything: goal scoring, big hits, a fight, a 5-on-3 power play, a disallowed goal, and a post-game brawl.
"It's always fun playing different teams," Henrik Samuelssaon said. "Last year we didn't get to do this so it's definitely a good thing to do before minicamp."
Arizona got on the board first as Samuelsson backhanded a rebound past Los Angeles goaltender Patrik Bartosak on the power play. The 2012 first round draft pick called it a, "nice, greasy goal." The Kings tied the game on a backhand of their own a few minutes later. Roland McKeown scored top shelf on Coyotes goaltender Marek Langhamer to tie the game at one.
Brendan Perlini, Arizona's first round pick from this past June, split a pair of Kings defenders and wristed a shot top shelf on the breakaway later in the first, giving the Coyotes a 2-1 lead. It was a nifty play for a winger who has high expectations for the future.
"It was kind of a bad play by their D and I just took advantage going around him. Luckily a good shot went in," Perlini said.
Period two was less of an offensive showcase and more of a physical bout. Arizona's Dyson Stevenson and Los Angeles' Ryan Horvat dropped the gloves early in the middle period, with Horvat grappling Stevenson onto the ice for the victory.
The chippiness carried over into the third period as both teams continued to play a physical game; some of it legal, some of it not. Arizona finally broke through with their third goal of the night, a snipe high blocker from Tobias Rieder. Rieder was one of the five players named by coach Dave Tippett and general manager Don Maloney as having a legitimate chance at making the opening night roster. He also had a goal disallowed in the second period because the whistle had blown before the puck entered the net.
Before the Coyotes extended their lead, 2013 second round pick Laurent Daupin was helped to the dressing room after injuring his left ankle.
Tyler Gaudet, another player in the big five, potted an empty net goal to seal the win.
However, the clock striking zero did not end the physical play. A hard hit in the corner in the final second caused both teams to pile up in the corner. Joel Hanley of Arizona and Taylor Burke of LA separated from the pack and went to blows. A nice, friendly Tuesday night rookie game.
The Coyotes and Kings hit the ice again on Wednesday afternoon for the final rookie camp game before veterans report for training camp. Puck drop is scheduled for 2 p.m. and the game is free and open to the public.