Kings beat Coyotes 5-3
By Rich Hammond
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Kings were in need of a timeout. Not the rest-on-the-bench type of timeout, but the sit-quietly-in-the-corner, parental type of timeout.
With many of their fathers watching from a suite in the arena, the Kings rebounded from a dreadful second period with some of their strongest play of the season, as they scored three third-period goals to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 5-3 on Monday night before approximately 3,000 fans at Jobing.com Arena.
The Kings improved to 9-4-2 this season, and 5-0-2 in their last seven games, thanks to a dramatic third-period improvement in all areas of the game.
's goal in the final minute of the second period brought the Kings within 3-2. Justin Williams
tied it -- with a nice move off a faceoff -- 6:44 into the third period, and Drew Doughty
scored the game-winner on a slap shot with 4:41 remaining. Smyth added an empty-net goal in the final minute.
The Kings' three first-line players, Anze Kopitar
, Smyth and Williams, combined for four goals and four assists, including five third-period points.
``Terry (Murray) came in (the locker room) in between the second and third and he gave it to us,'' Doughty said. ``He told us we weren’t playing the way we were capable of, and after that I think the team stepped up to the plate.
``Everybody did their job, of sticking to the coach’s game plan, and that’s why we came out with the win.''
And what was Murray's message between periods?
``Play better,'' Murray said. ``Just manage the puck better. I thought, in the second period, we had big problems getting through the neutral zone. A lot of turnovers, soft plays, not getting it in deep to continue with what we were doing in the first period. But sometimes players have to be reminded of that.''
After generating a combined total of 14 shots in the first two periods, the Kings outshot the Coyotes 13-4 in the third period and dominated from the first shift.
Williams, who missed five games due to injury, rejoined the top line. In the 10 games Kopitar, Smyth and Williams have played together, they have 40 points.
``I think the big thing is, we were cycling really well and taking the puck to the net at the right times,'' Smyth said. ``We got rewarded. I thought (Williams) made some great plays on the wall, that sometimes we just throw away instead of holding onto it a little bit longer. It was working well.''
They got help from Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera -- who got traded from the Kings last season -- who looked shaky throughout. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick
allowed three goals on 16 shots but got beat each time on quality chances.
Murray tried a dizzying number of line combinations in the third period, and they worked, as the Kings dominated both ends of the ice.
``I’ve got to give (the Coyotes) credit,'' Smyth said. ``They played well and they took the lead, but we built some character in this locker room tonight, going into the third, and I think that was a big step.''
Shane Doan, Martin Handzal and Scottie Upshall scored to give the Coyotes a 3-1 lead late in the second period, but before that, the Kings actually played a strong first period, and took an early lead.
Kopitar recorded his team-high 11th goal of the season, just seven seconds after a Kings power play expired. Kopitar held the puck in the right circle, then fired a wrist shot on LaBarbera with Smyth running traffic in front. LaBarbera got a piece of the puck, but it trickled past him with 4:01 left in the first period.
The Coyotes didn't record a shot on goal until less than three minutes remained in the period, but they tied it with four-tenths of a second remaining in the period, with Jack Johnson
serving a double-minor penalty for high sticking. Doan got the deflection in front, and tipped the puck over Quick.
Doan has four goals this season, all against the Kings, and Doan added an assist when the Coyotes took the lead in the first minute of the second period.
Johnson reached high in an attempt to bat down a Coyotes dump-in attempt, but missed, and Hanzal got behind him and beat Quick with a high shot just 37 seconds into the second period.
Phoenix took a two-goal lead with 5:16 left in the second period. Robert Lang misfired on a spinning shot from the left circle, but chased down the puck behind the net and flipped a centering pass to Upshall, whose one-timer to the short side beat Quick.
The Kings pulled within one goal when Smyth scored with 58 seconds left in the second period. LaBarbera made a poor attempt to push the puck into the corner. Smyth went to the net and pushed the puck toward LaBarbera, who could not control it as Smyth went behind the net and pushed it over the line.
The Kings tied it 6:44 into the third period, right off a faceoff in the Phoenix zone. Kopitar won the draw and Williams sneaked behind the Coyotes' defense, cut to the front of the net and beat LaBarbera with a backhand shot 6:44 into the third period.
``No one on the team really tried to block my shot, so I had a whole lane to the net,'' Doughty said. ``I just put it where the goalie wasn’t, and luckily it didn’t get blocked or hit a stick. I was pretty fortunate to get it in.
``The shift before, I had the exact same opportunity, even closer to the net, and (the stick) snapped. That’s the thing about those one-piece sticks. They break quite often, but it would get to get it back.''
The Kings kept the pressure on the Coyotes throughout the third period, and it paid off when Doughty's slap shot from the top of the left circle, through traffic, went in to give the Kings a 4-3 lead with 4:51 remaining. Smyth scored his second goal into an empty net with 39 seconds remaining.
The announced attendance was 5,855 but the actual attendance appeared to be no more than half of that, for a franchise in an ongoing ownership mess.
In a suite, however, were 15 happy fathers. As part of the first-team team ``dads' trip,'' the fathers traveled on the team charter to Phoenix, roomed with their sons and enjoyed some bonding time.
``Sometimes you have a little extra incentive, and you try to do a little too much sometimes,'' Murray said. ``Tonight, I think, in the third period they probably talked about it. `Let’s do something special here. This is a special trip for the whole team, and our parents are here, so let’s dig in and get the job done.’
``It was a real character third period. There was a lot of strong play, hard, taking it to the net, battle mentality. That’s what we have to show.''
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