Coyotes end Kings’ playoff hopes with 2-1 win
LOS ANGELES (AP) It was the story of their season, and it happened one more time to finally end the Los Angeles Kings’ nearly-impossible chances of reaching the playoffs.
”We gave up too many, we didn’t score enough,” goalie Jonathan Quick said.
Anthony Duclair scored 3:09 into the second period, Mike Smith made 34 saves and the Arizona Coyotes beat Los Angeles 2-1 Sunday night, ending the Kings’ slim postseason hopes.
Alexander Burmistrov scored a power-play goal and Oliver Ekman-Larsson had two assists for the Coyotes, who followed up an impressive 6-3 win over Presidents’ Trophy-leading Washington by guaranteeing the Kings would miss the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
”We want to win,” Burmistrov said. ”When we have a chance to eliminate a team out of the playoffs, we have to take our chance.”
Alec Martinez was credited with a power-play goal and Quick made 13 saves for Los Angeles, which needed to win its final five games and have Nashville lose each of its last three in regulation to reach the postseason.
Los Angeles was nearly shut out for the 11th time this season if not for a bizarre bounce early in the third period, and instead dropped to 2-13-1 in games scoring a single goal.
Martinez intended to dump the puck into the Coyotes’ zone on a slap shot from center ice when it deflected off Jordan Martinook outside the blue line and into the open goal, cutting the Kings’ deficit to 2-1 with 15:39 remaining. Smith was leaving his crease to play the puck behind the net and could not respond in time to the unlikely change in direction.
Despite getting three more looks on the power play, the Kings never came up with the tying goal.
The Kings have been held to two goals or fewer in 42 of 78 games, leaving captain Anze Kopitar to sound a familiar refrain of frustration.
”I think we generated enough chances. We just didn’t finish them, especially with the amount of power plays we had in the third period,” said Kopitar, who had an assist. ”Honestly, it’s not good enough scoring one goal at home and that’s pretty much been the story of the season.”
Kings coach Darryl Sutter pointed to the team’s poor record in division play, where they have won just 11 games this season. Even the struggling Coyotes, long since removed from meaningful competition, picked up their 11th win in the division by taking the season series against the Kings.
Burmistrov was waiting on the far post for Ekman-Larsson’s pass to put the Coyotes ahead 1-0 with 13 seconds left in the opening period. Pouncing on the rebound after Quick stopped his initial shot, Burmistrov scored his third power-play goal of the season.
The Kings seemed as if they would get to the locker room with the game scoreless after Brendan Perlini’s power-play goal was overturned on a successful coach’s challenge. Anthony DeAngelo was retroactively ruled offsides when the Coyotes first got the puck into the offensive zone to eventually set up Perlini’s wrist shot, only for Burmistrov to score 19.8 seconds later.
Duclair then followed up his own shot early in the second, recording his first goal since Dec. 29.
”To get that power-play goal right after the disallowed one, it certainly gave you a little boost cause we could have went into the locker room `woulda, coulda, shoulda,”’ Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said. ”You get up 1-nothing and you move on.”
Quick delivered a remarkable kick save in the opening period to deny Peter Holland’s shot into an open net, sticking out his left leg parallel to the ice and keeping out the puck with his pads.
But even that acrobatic feat and holding Arizona to 15 shots, fewest by an opponent this season, couldn’t awaken the floundering offense for Los Angeles.
”A lot of guys I think, me being on top of that list, I don’t think the production was there the way we expect from ourselves and each other,” Kopitar said. ”Obviously a very empty feeling, a very sour taste.”
NOTES: Coyotes D Alex Goligoski had an assist, extending his streak of games with a point to four. … Referee Mike Leggo officiated his 1,213th and final game of his 21-season career.
Coyotes: Visit the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.
Kings: Host the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.