GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Los Angeles Kings kept the pressure on most of the game and it finally paid off in the final two minutes.
Jake Muzzin took a slick pass in front of the net from Jeff Carter and scored a power-play goal with 1:49 to play, giving the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 victory over Arizona on Tuesday night that snapped the Coyotes’ season-best three-game winning streak.
”I think we hit three posts for sure in the third (period),” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. ”We’re hoping eventually one goes in.”
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Anze Kopitar and Jordan Nolan also scored for the Kings, who never led until Muzzin’s goal, which came with 10 seconds left in the power play.
The victory gives Los Angeles a one-point lead over St. Louis for the final playoff spot in the West.
Arizona goalie Mike Smith withstood a barrage of third-period shots before finally allowing the deciding goal.
Jordan Martinook and Ryan White scored for Arizona. Smith had 36 saves to 30 for the Kings’ Peter Budaj.
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was unhappy with officiating decisions that resulted in two late power plays for Los Angeles.
”It’s too bad a couple of soft calls like that have an impact on the game,” he said.
Still, Tippett said, ”We defended too much. They pushed hard. We didn’t push back had enough.”
Los Angeles, host of last weekend’s All-Star festivities, outshot Arizona 14-2 in the third period before the Coyotes got five shots late with Smith pulled for an extra skater.
The fourth line scored both of Arizona’s goals, but the Kings countered quickly after both scores.
Arizona scored first when Connor Murphy slammed a shot into a crowd in front of the Los Angeles net. Martinook controlled the deflection and sneaked the puck past Budaj 8:48 into the first period.
The lead didn’t last long. With a scrum in front of the Arizona net, Kopitar got the puck past Smith to tie it 1-1 at 10:21 of the first. It was only the sixth this season for Kopitar, who has 249 career goals. He does lead the team with 22 assists.
”That goal kind of woke us up,” Kopitar said. ”Even the second half of the first period we were able to do what we wanted to do.”
Los Angeles dominated most of the second period. Smith, an All-Star participant for the first time in his career, made a stabbing glove save of Jacob Chychurn’s sizzling slap shot from the top of the left circle.
The Coyotes picked it up late, although they botched a 4-on-1 breakaway with passing problems at the finish.
But Arizona kept up the pressure and, after Budaj knocked Lawson Crouse’s close-in shot into the air, White crashed the net and scored to make it 2-1 with 1:30 left in the second period.
The lead lasted just 25 seconds. Jordan Nolan rushed down the ice and to the front of the net. Smith got a piece of Nolan’s shot, but the puck trickled in to tie it at 2 entering the third period.
The Kings had three shots hit the post, two in the third period.
NOTES: Arizona’s Shane Doan passed Steve Yzerman for fifth on the list of most games played (1,514) with a single franchise. … Longtime Kings play-by-play broadcaster Bob Miller suffered a mild stroke over the All-Star weekend. The team says Miller is recovering and in good spirits, but it’s unknown when he will return to broadcasting. … Los Angeles placed D Matt Greene on injured reserve. Greene had been battling various injuries, including to his back and groin. Those injuries could be career-threatening. Greene played in only three games last season due to a shoulder injury.
Kings: Los Angeles returns home to face Colorado Wednesday night.
Coyotes: Arizona faces the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night in the final game of a five-game home stand that started before the All-Star break.