Kings beat Coyotes 5-3
Monday, 06.18.2012 / 10:46 PM
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Some nights, it's scoring. Other nights, it's playmaking. Every night, it seems, Anze Kopitar
is making something happen for the Kings.
With three assists Saturday night in the Kings' 5-3 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena, Kopitar became the NHL's leading scorer.
Kopitar has 11 assists and 19 points in 11 games, two points more than Washington's Alexander Ovechkin, who had one assist Saturday. The Kings won their third consecutive game, moved into first place in the Pacific Division and avenged an awful season-opening loss to the Coyotes.
The Kings, who host Columbus at home on Sunday night, scored three power-play goals and got two goals each from Jarret Stoll
and Dustin Brown
and one from Wayne Simmonds
. Drew Doughty
had two assists.
They made the most of their opportunities against Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov (16 saves), who allowed more than three goals for the first time this season.
Echoes of Thursday's poor third period -- in an overtime win over Dallas -- rang out when the Coyotes scored 7:30 into the third period. Shane Doan's second goal of the game made it 4-3, but Brown scored a late empty-net goal.
``It’s nice to come in here and get a big two points,'' said Stoll, who hadn't scored a goal this season before Saturday. ``Big game tomorrow, again, at home, so we know how tough those games are, back to back. It’s just a great team effort. We played OK. We didn’t play great but we played well enough to win.''
The same could be said for Kings goalie Jonathan Quick
, who allowed three goals on 33 shots but showed improvement, coming off a rough game in which he allowed four goals on 21 shots. Quick improved his record to 7-3 this season.
``Quick was much better,'' Kings coach Terry Murray said, ``(Thirty three) shots on net (against), but I’m looking at maybe 10 or so from center ice. But even with that, he had a couple big stops. There was a lot of action around the net. They’ve got a big team and they’re very quick. They come at you fast.
``He had to be alert, and he was much better. He really regrouped and bounced back from a game that he probably wasn’t real happy with the other night.''
It was a big night for several Kings. Kopitar continued his evolution toward becoming an elite NHL center, Simmonds once again thrived as the top-line right wing and Scott Parse
made a great pass for an assist in his NHL debut.
The Kings went 3 for 7 on the power play and 3 for 4 on the penalty kill.
If the Kings could find a way to get Doan away from Phoenix, they'd be doing even better. Doan, with two goals, has 25 goals and 35 assists in 72 career games against the Kings, and on Saturday he gave the Coyotes an early lift.
After the Kings didn't generate much on their first power play of the game, the Coyotes got a power play and were able to cycle in the Kings' zone. It paid off when Robert Lang attmpted a spinning shot, one Quick stopped but couldn't control.
The rebound deflected to Quick's right, and right onto the stick of Doan, who wasn't marked and easily knocked the puck past Quick 9:52 into the game.
The Kings took advantage on their third power play of the game, early in the second period. Kopitar was strong on the puck as he carried it to the net, then made an even nicer play on a pass across the crease to Brown.
Brown, skating to the left side of the net, had to do little more than tip the puck past Bryzgalov to tie the game 1-1 at the 4:41 mark.
After three consecutive Phoenix penalties, the Kings took advantage with a 5-on-3 goal. Kopitar made a nice pass from the right circle to Stoll, whose one-timer from the top of the left circle beat Bryzgalov.
``It’s nice to score for sure, and contribute,'' Stoll said. ``It’s been a while since I put one in, so it’s a good feeling, and a great feeling to get the win, especially in this building the way they’re playing and all the momentum that they’ve so far created this season.''
Phoenix wasn't down long, though, as Radim Vrbata scored just 1:18 later after the Kings were unable to clear the defensive zone.
Things started going the Kings' way early in the third period.
Stoll's second goal of the game, 2:16 into the third period, gave the Kings a 3-2 lead, and came off a perfecting centering pass from Parse, from the right side. Stoll steadied the puck, moved to his backhand and beat Bryzgalov.
``I really liked the way that our team adjusted in several different areas of our own play here tonight,'' Murray said, ``It was really encouraging to see that.''
Simmonds added a goal, off Kopitar's third assist, at the 9:12 mark for a two-goal Kings lead, and continued to play well as Justin Williams
' replacement on the first line. Williams missed a second consecutive game with an undisclosed lower-body injury and is questionable for Sunday's game as well.
``He’s playing very well,'' Murray said. ``He has really fit in nicely there. A big body that kind of balances the line out there, too, with Kopi. I liked his effort again. He’s on the puck, he holds on, he makes plays, he’s kind of a nice complement to the style of game that (Kopitar and Ryan Smyth