ROBITAILLE NETS TWO AS GARON, KINGS SHUTOUT PHOENIX
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FINAL SCORE: LOS ANGELES 4, PHOENIX 0
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Craig Conroy and Joe Corvo scored 50 seconds apart in the first period, Luc Robitaille ended a 14-game goal drought with two goals and Mathieu Garon earned his first shutout with the Los Angeles Kings in a 4-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night.
The Pacific Division-leading Kings won for the ninth time in 11 games following consecutive wins against the second-place Dallas Stars. Garon made 29 saves while winning for the 10th time in his last 11 starts. His other four NHL shutouts came with the Montreal Canadiens.
Phoenix goalie Brian Boucher, who made his season debut in a 4-1 loss at Los Angeles on Dec. 17, lasted only one period after giving up three goals on 12 shots. He was replaced by Curtis Joseph, who stopped all 13 shots he faced after allowing five goals in each of the Coyotes' previous two games.
A delayed penalty led to the Kings' first two goals. Referee Mick McGeough had his hand raised to call a double minor against Phoenix defenseman Denis Gauthier for high-sticking Conroy when the Kings pulled Garon for an extra attacker and took the lead at the 11:46 mark.
Conroy got a cross-ice pass from Mattias Norstrom and beat Boucher to the stick side with a 20-foot wrist shot from the right circle for his 16th goal. As a result, Gauthier's penalty was reduced to 2 minutes. But the Kings capitalized on the ensuing power play when Corvo took a pass off the boards from Conroy, stickhandled toward the middle and slapped his eighth goal past a screened Boucher from just inside the blue line.
The Kings have 11 power-play goals in their last six games after going 0-for-12 in a 5-3 loss at Edmonton on Dec. 23. They have scored at least once with the man advantage in 12 of their last 13 contests.
Phoenix was 0-for-7 with the man advantage against a penalty-killing unit that had allowed a power-play goal in 11 straight games and 23 of their previous 24. They had eight power-play goals against the Kings in four previous meetings this season.
Robitaille made it 3-0 at 18:08 of the first, scoring on a one-timer from the slot, beating Boucher from about 20 feet after getting a drop pass from Michael Cammalleri. Robitaille added an empty-netter with 49 seconds left, giving him 660 career goals and 549 in a Kings uniform, one shy of Marcel Dionne's franchise record.
The goals were Robitaille's sixth and seventh this season and his first since his game-winner on Nov. 26 against Chicago. The 19-year veteran, who has scored more goals than any left wing in NHL history, missed nine games in November with a fractured right leg and was benched for three consecutive games by coach Andy Murray in mid-December.
Notes: The Coyotes reached the midway point of their first season with Wayne Gretzky as coach, and are third in the Pacific Division with a 20-19-2 record - 14 points behind the first-place Kings. ... Injury-plagued Phoenix C Petr Nedved returned to the lineup after missing four games because of a groin strain. But C Dave Scatchard, who missed the previous game with a groin injury, re-aggravated it in the first period on his sixth shift. He will be re-evaluated Friday. ... Los Angeles recalled D Richard Petiot from Manchester of the AHL and placed D Mike Weaver on injured reserve.