It took a while, but the Arizona Coyotes finally looked like a team that could drive possession and hold the zone against quality opponents. They just didn't give themselves enough time.
A late 3rd period push was not enough for the Coyotes to tie the game, as they fell 1-0 to the Los Angeles Kings Monday night at the Staples Center.
The first period was a tough one to watch, even if you were a Kings fan. Los Angeles dominated possession time but struggled to get offensive chances from high percentage areas. The defense, which was hard-pressed to protect the net or minimize second chance opportunities in the New Jersey game, played very well tonight.
Though the Coyotes were out attempted 20-10 in the first frame, the game remained 0-0 thanks to the play of Mike Smith. He would continue to play well all the way until 18:55 of the second period, when Jordan Nolan made a move to the outside in the offensive zone that caught John Moore flatfooted. He fell out of position and gave Nolan ample time to feed the puck over to Andy Andreoff, who slid the puck underneath a sprawling Smith to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
Los Angeles would continue to push the pace of the game until approximately the 55 minute mark, when they went into lead preservation mode and practically ceded control of the puck to the Coyotes. The Kings would generate no shot attempts from 4:26 remaining in the third until the end of the game, while the Coyotes would generate eight.
Jonathan Quick came up big for the Kings in crunch time, making several key saves to preserve the clean sheet. A late offside call that may not have been actually offside prevented the Coyotes from generating a last-ditch effort, and LA hung on to win 1-0.
Our Three Stars of the Game
- 3rd Star: Jonathan Quick - He made 25 saves in the shutout effort, and came up big for Los Angeles down the stretch.
- 2nd Star: Andy Andreoff - Scored his first career NHL goal, which proved to be the game winner. A pretty special night for him all around.
- 1st Star: Mike Smith - Smith shrugged off his forgettable performance Saturday night against New Jersey with another excellent effort. He stopped 34 of 35 shots for Arizona.
- For the Los Angeles perspective, check out Jewels From the Crown.
- Brandon Gormley drew in again for Arizona in place of Andrew Campbell. He is really fighting hard to get back into the lineup on a regular basis.
- Shane Doan played defenseman-like minutes for the Coyotes in this one, as did Tobias Rieder. They played 23:15 and 22:15, respectively.
- Not to be outdone, Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty and Arizona defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson played a whopping 27:31 and 27:20, respectively.
- The final shot attempts tally was 65-42 in favor of the Kings. The Kings actually took the bulk of their attempts in the third period despite not having any for the final four minutes of the game.
- Clean sheets all around on special teams: Arizona went 0 for 2 on the power play while Los Angeles went 0 for 3.
The Coyotes are back in Glendale Thursday night to play the Colorado Avalanche. Puck drop is at 7 PM Arizona time.