Coyotes edge Kings for rare sweep
LOS ANGELES — Brad Richardson and the Arizona Coyotes were brimming with added confidence after completing their first Southern California sweep on back-to-back nights — especially considering the way they rallied to win both games.
Richardson scored the go-ahead goal with 8:13 left in the third period and Martin Hanzal got his first two goals of the season, leading the Coyotes to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.
"I think we believe in here that we can compete with good teams in this league, and we’ve proven that," goalie Mike Smith said. "They’re a good hockey team, obviously, and their success in the past has proven that. So you just get up to play high-caliber teams."
Smith made 33 saves in his 400th regular-season game, helping the Coyotes improve to 6-2-1 on the road. They were coming off a 4-3 overtime victory at Anaheim in which they erased a 2-0 deficit.
The Coyotes won in Anaheim and L.A. on back-to-back nights for the first time in franchise history.
"Every win is going to help our confidence," Hanzal said. "We have a young group in here, and winning builds confidence."
Smith became the fourth goalie to reach 100 regular-season victories with the Coyotes franchise, joining Ilya Bryzgalov (130), Bob Essensa (129) and Nikolai Khabibulin (126).
"It’s a privilege to play in this league. And to have been here as long as I have to this point, it’s very humbling," Smith said. "This franchise has been tremendous for me and I’ve met a lot of good people along the way. So there’s a special place in my heart for it."
Dustin Brown snapped a 14-game goal drought this season and Tyler Toffoli also scored for the Kings. Jonathan Quick made 22 saves.
"Our D-zone was not very good tonight, and that’s a staple of our game," Brown said. "It goes a long way for our offensive game when we play less time in the D-zone. When we are playing our game, we are moving the puck quickly, coming out of our zone clean and stopping plays before they begin."
Jordan Martinook shook off a check by Anze Kopitar in the right corner and backhanded the puck toward the front of the crease, where Richardson redirected it past Quick for his second goal.
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"We were soft on all three goals against," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said.
The Kings had grabbed a 2-1 lead at the 5-minute mark of the second period while Connor Murphy was off for hooking Tanner Pearson.
Jamie McBain faked a slap shot above the right circle and sent a cross-ice pass to Toffoli, who beat Smith over the right shoulder with a wrist shot from the middle of the left circle for his 10th goal — making him the first Kings player to reach double digits.
But the Coyotes outshot Los Angeles 13-1 over the final 10:35 of the period, and Hanzal tied it for the second time at 9:59 with a 20-foot backhander from the slot that beat Quick high to the glove side. Oliver Ekman-Larsson started the play by flipping the puck toward the net from the left point, and Kings defenseman Alec Martinez failed to clear it after it hit him.
"I think he was frustrated about not scoring goals, but he was getting a lot of assists (13), so that balances it out," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "He’s our most important forward, no question about it. When you’re averaging a point a game, you feel like you’re contributing. He’s a leader up front. And when he plays like that, we’re a good team."
The Kings opened the scoring at 5:54 of the first period after playing more than 5 1/2 minutes before getting their first shot on net.
Kopitar won a faceoff deep in the Coyotes end, and Drew Doughty redirected Pearson’s pass toward the net. But Smith couldn’t control the bouncing puck, and Brown poked it past him to end the second-longest season-opening goal drought of his 12-year career. The Kings’ captain went the first 17 games of his 2003-04 rookie campaign without one.
"Everyone was aware that he and Marty hadn’t scored coming into the game. So for Brown to get that one, you knew they were going to have a good game," Doan said. "That line was buzzing for probably the first 40 minutes of the game and they had the puck the majority of the time. So the rest of us had to match it."
Smith withstood a flurry of quality scoring chances by the Kings after Brown’s goal, and Hanzal tied it at 11:37 of the first with a 25-foot wrist shot from the slot that beat Quick to the stick side after Hanzal intercepted Brayden McNabb’s attempted clearing pass from behind his own net.
"The second game of a back-to-back, you never know how the team’s going to come out. So as a goalie, you’re just preparing for the worst," Smith said. " But I was able to make some saves early in the game. We battled back throughout the game and we were able to find one more before it was too late."
NOTES: Since the start of last season, Doan is minus-35. … Coming into the game, the Kings were averaging an NHL-high 13.4 penalty minutes and the Coyotes were at a league-worst 11.3 percent on the power play (6 for 53). … This was the first time the Coyotes have played consecutive games in Southern California on the same trip since November 2006. … Kings D Matt Greene, who hasn’t scored a goal in 41 career games against the Coyotes, didn’t get a chance to end that drought. He missed his 12th straight game with an upper-body injury.
- Alec Martinez
- Anze Kopitar
- Arizona Coyotes
- Brad Richardson
- Brayden McNabb
- Connor Murphy
- Drew Doughty
- Dustin Brown
- FOX Sports Arizona
- FOX Sports Arizona - Coyotes
- Jamie McBain
- Jonathan Quick
- Jordan Martinook
- Los Angeles Kings
- Martin Hanzal
- Matt Greene
- Max Domi
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson
- Shane Doan
- Tanner Pearson
- Tyler Toffoli