GLENDALE, AZ – Same team, different story. The Kings weren’t the offensive juggernaut they were in their last meeting with Phoenix Thursday night. In fact, they were barely able to find the scoreboard, turning in their second straight game with only one goal to show for a heavy slew of shots.
Since their seven-goal outburst last Thursday night at STAPLES Center against Phoenix, the Kings have rattled off an astounding 90 shots in the two contests since, but have just a combined two goals to show for those efforts.
The Kings’ struggles to find the back of the net certainly didn’t help support backup goaltender Ben Scrivens, who made his second start of the season tonight. Scrivens stopped Phoenix’s first 25 shots and denied them on each of their first three power play opportunities before the Coyotes finally snuck one past him. Literally.
Because of Scrivens, the Kings were lucky to come out of the first period in a scoreless tie. Scrivens’ 17 first period saves gave the Kings a chance, but you can only hold on for so long when there’s no offensive production to lean on. The Kings tried, but Mike Smith was having a choice night for himself, making a total of 41 saves.
Tonight’s meeting was certainly more accurate when you think of a classic matchup between these two clubs; Physical, low-scoring, and stingy. Neither team was able to get on the board until the final two minutes of the second period, when the Coyotes delivered a major hamper to the Kings’ momentum push by scoring two goals just 1:35 apart of one another in the final 1:41 of the frame.
If one thing’s for sure, the Kings didn’t give up. They outshot the Coyotes 17-5 in the third period, but to no avail. Phoenix did a wonderful job of keeping the Kings to the outside and shutting down the middle of the ice. Shots are just shots if they’re not going in, or more importantly, creating secondary opportunity.
The Kings got off the scoring schneid with 3:21 remaining in the contest on a man-advantage opportunity, as Jarret Stoll handled a flubbing puck from the top of the zone and cannoned it past Mike Smith.