Tie Domi’s son scores in NHL debut, Coyotes beat Kings
LOS ANGELES — Max Domi just about did it all in his NHL debut, except collecting the puck from his first goal. Lucky for him, Steve Downie was there to pick up the touted rookie.
Domi had a goal and an assist to help the Arizona Coyotes beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Friday night.
Mike Smith made 40 saves for the Coyotes in their opener after a tumultuous summer that featured a contentious battle over the terms of their arena lease.
Zbynek Michalek, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Tobias Rieder also scored for Arizona, which showed signs of a bright future after missing the playoffs for three straight seasons.
No one shined brighter than Domi, the son of former NHL enforcer Tie Domi. With his family in attendance, he scored 4:43 into the second period when the Coyotes capitalized on a weak attempt to clear the puck by Kings rookie Jordan Weal. Downie caused Weal’s indecision by bodying up on the young center. Connor Murphy held the puck in at the blue line, and Domi grabbed it and launched a blistering shot past Jonathan Quick to make it 3-0.
"Everybody in our room expected him to play well. Max, he’s been in the spotlight his whole life," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "I’m so happy for him. He has waited for this game for a long time, and for him to play as well as he did, it was really nice to see. All our young guys played well."
Domi, the 12th overall draft pick in 2013, had an assist on Ekman-Larsson’s goal.
Domi became the first player to score multiple points in his debut with the Coyotes franchise since current captain Shane Doan had two assists for the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 7, 1995, according to Stats LLC.
"The kid is a special kid," Smith said. "To do what he did in his first game, he didn’t really look out of place at all. He proved he can play in this league and he’ll get better as the season goes on."
Tyler Toffoli scored for Los Angeles, which allowed nine straight goals after scoring on the first shot of their season. The Kings lost their opener 5-1 to San Jose on Wednesday night, and again did little to indicate they were ready to return to the postseason and push for a third Stanley Cup title in five seasons.
"If you feel better about losing, we played better tonight than the last game," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "We probably deserved a little better fate."
Toffoli followed up Jeff Carter’s short-handed breakaway miss and put it in the net with 57 seconds left in the second period.
Before Toffoli’s goal, the Staples Center fans did not hide their displeasure, booing and jeering Quick when he touched the puck long before Rieder make it 4-0. Quick finished with 18 saves.
"He didn’t play very well tonight, did he?" Sutter said of Quick’s performance.
Michalek scored exactly 2 minutes into the game, his shot deflecting off Nick Shore’s stick and fluttering in.
"They had a couple of goals that I think were off our players, but like I said, good teams get to create their own bounces. We had a lot of good chances in around the net, but I don’t think they generated a whole lot on their own," Kings captain Dustin Brown said.
While the Kings dominated long stretches of the first period, the Coyotes doubled their advantage when Ekman-Larsson scored on a one-timer from between the circles with 48 seconds remaining, with Martin Hanzal picking up the first of his two assists.
After the game, Domi snapped a quick photo with the puck and said he planned to give the memento to his mom.
NOTES: The Coyotes will play their first home game Saturday night against Pittsburgh before returning to Southern California to face Anaheim on Wednesday night. … Weal made his NHL debut, playing 7:38. He was the most valuable player of the AHL playoffs last season, scoring 10 goals and adding 12 assists.