Division rivals met in their respective cities to kick off the 2014-15 preseason. The split squad games between the Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings resulted in shootout wins for each home team. The Coyotes won 5-4 in Glendale, while the Kings won 4-3 in Los Angeles.
Max Domi, Henrik Samuelsson and Martin Hanzal all had three-point games in Glendale, capping off a remarkable night for that line. It did not take long for that line to mesh.
"Our line seemed to click pretty good," Domi said. "It's not hard to play with those two guys. We had some fun tonight and it's a huge win."
Two teams playing their first preseason game had all the makings of a slow start. Nope. Four goals were scored in the opening period, including three by the visiting Kings.
After Samuelsson opened the scoring with a nifty backhand that beat L.A. goaltender Jean-Francois Berube, the Kings remembered that they are the defending Stanley Cup champions and not too fond of the Desert Dogs.
Tanner Pearson received a pass through the middle of the ice from fellow 22-year-old Tyler Toffoli and dangled around an unsuspecting Dylan Reese and potted a power play goal to tie the game. Less than four minutes later, the Coyotes lost a puck battle behind their own net and Jeff Carter found Nic Dowd in front for a one-timer.
Los Angeles extended its lead with a little more than a minute remaining in the opening period. After failing to score five hole on the Coyotes' goaltender just moments prior, an uncontested Mike Richards skated into the slot, faked a shot then blasted the puck past between Mike Smith's legs to give the Kings a 3-1 lead.
Three goals on 11 shots, the Kings looked as good to start the season as they finished last season.
However, the champs came back down to Earth in a penalty-filled second period. The insertion of a back-up goalie and having only one shot in the first 17.5 minutes of the period did not help either.
With Carter in the box for a high sticking double-minor, Hanzal brought the Coyotes within one, tapping in a pass from behind the net. The big Czech center added to his power play goal total a few minutes later, tying the game after a Domi pass was kicked by a Kings defender and landed on Hanzal's stick in front of the net. Another goal generated by that young line.
"I put that line on paper a long time ago in the summer," coach Dave Tippett said. He added that he was "itching" to see that line in action.
New Coyote Sam Gagner found the scoresheet for the first time in Sedona Red, smacking home a cross-ice pass from Lauri Korpikoski to give the Yotes a 4-3 lead.
Late in the middle frame, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and the Coyotes' favorite King, Jordan Nolan, went to blows behind Arizona's net. It would not be the last time the Coyotes got at Nolan.
Newcomer B.J. Crombeen attempted to get a fight out of Nolan, but No. 71 refused. Crombeen made sure he got a lick in on the King at the end of the following play, earning a two-minute minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct for his trouble. Richards scored his second of the night on the ensuing power play to tie the game at four apiece.
A scoreless overtime sent the game to a shootout where the Coyotes prevailed 2-0. Domi scored on a ridiculous combination of speed, deception and skill to help win the shootout. "Improvisation at its finest," Domi said.
The other set of Coyotes rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime. Unlike the Yotes in Glendale, they could not pull off a shootout win, falling 2-1 in four rounds.
- For L.A.'s perspective visit: Jewels From The Crown
- Samuelsson scored Arizona's first shootout goal in Glendale.
- Mike Smith played the entire game in Glendale; Devan Dubnyk the entire game in L.A.
- Tippett liked the play of Tobias Rieder, Tyler Gaudet and Jordan Szwarz in addition to the Hanzal line.
- On whether the Hanzal line will stay together, Tippett said "It's early."
- Ekman-Larsson played RD next to Brandon Gormley.
- Pearson had a very solid game for the Kings, picking up three points
Three Stars of the Game
- Martin Hanzal - Two goals, three points and won 88 percent of his faceoffs.
- Henrik Samuelsson - A goal and three points, solid all over the ice.
- Max Domi - A trio of assists and the sensational shootout goal.
The Coyotes play tomorrow night in Anaheim against the Ducks. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.