LOS ANGELES, CA – Keep this one in the memory bank. It was glorious, and the entertainment value couldn’t have been higher. Tonight’s happenings inside the walls of STAPLES Center brought upon some of the wackiest, most unique aspects that exist in the sport of hockey.
In the Kings’ 7-4 victory over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes, the storyline brought upon a couple of extreme shifts in momentum. The Kings came out rolling with four first period goals on 15 shots against Phoenix net minder Mike Smith, who was pulled by head coach Dave Tippet after the first 20 minutes of play.
A sexy 4-0 lead after one period. What could go wrong?
Before most in attendance could comprehend what was happening to such a gorgeous, early lead, the Phoenix Coyotes tied the contest at four apiece just two minutes into the third and final frame.
Just :41 seconds after Phoenix tied the contest, Jake Muzzin took a slashing penalty. This was the supposed kiss of death to the Kings; it was supposed to be the tip that got the Coyotes over the edge.
Instead, the Kings recorded their third shorthanded goal of the season off of a beautiful breakaway move by Mike Richards, who created his opportunity to walk in alone on Thomas Greiss with a beautiful takeaway in the neutral zone.
All went well from then on, as the Kings added insurance with two more goals to total in on seven in their offensive outburst.
FIRST’S A CHARM: Three players recorded their first goals of the season tonight – Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, and Matt Frattin. This was the first career goal for Matt Frattin in a Kings uniform. Kopitar, who had gone 26 games without a goal up until tonight, scored his first goal since March 5th, 2013 against the St. Louis Blues.
HATS OFF: Dwight King had a breakout game tonight against Phoenix, recording his first career NHL hat trick. King had never scored multiple goals in a single game prior to tonight.
- The Kings hadn’t scored four goals in the first period of a contest since December 18th, 2010, when they beat the Predators 6-1 in Nashville.
- SEVEN?! The last time the Kings scored at least seven goals in a single contest was on April 1st, 2010 against the Vancouver Canucks in a 8-1 win at STAPLES Center.
- Heading into tonight, Phoenix goal tender Mike Smith had a career 1.95 GAA against the Kings. Tonight, he allowed four goals on 15 shots in one single period.
- Mike Richards scored his 28th career shorthanded goal, which was tonight’s eventual game-winner. He is now tied for first overall with Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis among active NHL players in that statistical category.
- Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar each have six points in the last three games.
- In their previous eight meetings against Phoenix at STAPLES Center, the Kings are an astounding 7-1-0.
There’s no doubt that they’re coming off of their most exciting win of the young season, if not the most impressive as well. The Kings continue to show resurgence and camaraderie, holding an impressive 6-2-0 record in their last eight games.
The next date, which calls for yet another Pacific showdown, is slated to be the Edmonton Oilers, who visit STAPLES Center on Sunday evening at 6:00PM.