No matter what the standings and the stat sheets say, the Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings always seem to produce lively affairs when they butt heads.
Tonight was no exception, as a wild back and forth contest ended with a 4-3 Los Angeles victory at Gila River Arena.
1-0 Arizona - The two clubs barely gave fans time to find their seats, as Tyler Toffoli took a penalty just nine seconds into the game. Six seconds later, Martin Hanzal redirected a Radim Vrbata wrist shot in front of Peter Budaj to give the Coyotes an extremely early lead. Assists to Vrbata and Michael Stone on the power play goal at :15.
1-1 Tie - Los Angeles would take control of the remainder of the period, and finally capitalized on an errant offensive zone drop pass by Christian Dvorak that Alex Goligoski missed. Dwight King ultimately finished a 3-on-2 counter to even up the score. Assists to Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar on the goal at 12:25.
2-1 Arizona - The Coyotes were gifted a late period power play by Nick Shore, who blatantly held up Martin Hanzal behind the Los Angeles goal. It was Hanzal who ultimately cashed in for the Coyotes with a beautiful wrist shot from the far-side faceoff circle. Assists to Michael Stone and Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the power play goal at 18:32.
2-2 Tie - Jordan Nolan scored his first goal of the season off of a pinballing puck that was thrown towards the net by Kyle Clifford. Nolan would corral the puck in front of Mike Smith, and roof home a shot after Smith missed with a poke-check. Assists to Clifford and Nick Shore on the goal at 10:14.
3-2 Los Angeles - Jordan Nolan again beat Mike Smith, as Nolan and Oliver Ekman-Larsson collided in the near-side corner. Nolan got up first, but Smith did not appear ready to defend the sharp angle shot that snuck through. No assists on the goal at 13:41.
3-3 Tie - For as much as Alex Goligoski has been maligned this season, he demonstrated why the Coyotes sought him out on this play, as his cross-ice pass from the defensive zone found Tobias Rieder in perfect position to streak through two Los Angeles defenders and beat Jeff Zatkoff over the shoulder. Assists to Goligoski and Jordan Martinook on the goal at 13:50.
4-3 Los Angeles - The Kings would get a late goal off of a huge rebound, as Mike Smith appeared to think he had caught Marian Gaborik’s wrist shot. He hadn’t, and before he could correct himself Trevor Lewis was there in the middle slot to bang home the rebound. Assists to Gaborik and Anze Kopitar on the goal at 15:55.
Players of the Game
Los Angeles - Jordan Nolan - The perennial Kings pest/ender of Rostislav Klesla’s NHL career had a pair of goals for the Kings tonight.
Arizona - Martin Hanzal - Two goals for Hanzal, as he and Tobias Rieder gave the Kings fits all night long.
- For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From the Crown.
- Jakob Chychrun returned to action tonight after sitting out four consecutive games. He played 9:49 in Anthony DeAngelo’s stead.
- After getting outshot 14-6 in the first period, the Coyotes outshot the Kings 26-19.
- Peter Budaj was replaced after the first period by Jeff Zatkoff. Budaj allowed two goals on six shots, while Zatkoff stopped 25 of 26.
- Martin Hanzal and Tobias Rieder combined for 11 of Arizona’s 32 shots.
- Shane Doan would take a late misconduct penalty after disagreeing with the referees on a Martin Hanzal hooking penalty with :15 seconds left in the game.
Arizona takes a break from its Pacific Division schedule as the Coyotes welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets to town on Saturday night. Puck drop is at 6 PM Arizona time.