|LAK||3||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|PHX||4||2||0||(0 - 0)||6|
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- True to his nature, Terry Murray didn't yell, punch the glass or throw anything. He simply glanced at Jonathan Bernier and pointed his chin toward the ice.
With that, Jonathan Quick's night mercifully ended, and it wasn't a fun one. The Phoenix Coyotes have provided tough opposition for the Kings in recent seasons, perhaps never more so than on Wednesday night, when the Coyotes scored four first-period goals and went on to a 6-3 victory over the Kings before 15,153 at Jobing.com Arena.
``Tonight, we just weren't there,'' Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. ``You give up four goals in the first period, you're not ready to play the game, and that was obvious tonight.''
The Kings entered the game having allowed the second-fewest goals per game in the NHL this season and had not allowed more than three goals in a period this season. Phoenix took first-period leads of 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 and 4-2, then scored twice in the first 10:03 of the second period before Murray had seen enough and called for a change in goal.
Quick allowed six goals on 18 shots before being called to the bench with 9:57 remaining in the second period, after Phoenix took its 6-3 lead. Quick was far from alone in the blame, as defensive breakdowns led to at least three of those Phoenix goals.
``We didn't play,'' Murray said. ``We just didn't play in any area of the game.''
Brad Richardson, Ryan Smyth and Marco Sturm had goals for the Kings, but that wasn't nearly enough against the Coyotes and regular Kings-killer Shane Doan, who had two goals. The Kings allowed two power-play goals and were outshot 31-26.
The KIngs' three worst defensive efforts of the season -- statistically at least -- have been on the road. They lost 6-3 at San Jose on Nov. 15 and lost 6-4 at St. Louis on Dec. 16.
``I'm moving on here, right now,'' Murray said. ``This was a bad one. Those things happen, and we've just got to put it in the trash can and forget about it.''
As if to show how fickle the game can be, the Kings followed one of their best efforts of the season -- a 4-0 victory over San Jose on Monday -- with one of their worst. They won't have long to figure it out, either, as a home game against Philadelphia looms Thursday.
``That's the good thing about the NHL, is you're playing every other day or back-to-back,'' Kings captain Dustin Brown said. ``With 82 games, we've just got to forget about this one and move on. Two points at home are what we're focusing on now. We're not happy with the way we played, but the fact of the matter of, there's two points tomorrow night.''
The Kings had their four-game winning streak ended -- they had been 9-2-1 in their previous 12 games -- and have lost three consecutive games at Phoenix. The Kings' only saving grace Wednesday was that division rivals Dallas and San Jose also lost.
Coming in, recent statistics didn't exactly suggest a shootout-type game. The Coyotes had scored a total of four goals in their previous four games while the Kings had allowed a total of three goals in their previous four games. That went out of the window a hurry.
The Coyotes, typically a strong-skating, tenacious bunch, have given the Kings headaches at times over the past couple seasons, and the headaches only got worse on Wednesday. The Kings have been unable to solve their season-long trend of allowing a goal within three minutes of scoring one, and that also popped up again.
After five-plus minutes of first-period quiet, the scoring commenced. After a defensive-zone turnover by the Kings, Phoenix took a 1-0 lead at the 5:31 mark. That started it.
Richardson tied the game 1-1, but the Coyotes took the lead back 1:41 later. Williams tied it 2-2 with 8:36 remaining in the first, but the Coyotes then took the lead back 52 seconds later. Brett MacLean scored with 4:26 remaining in the first period to give the Coyotes a 4-2 lead, and they never lost the lead after that.
``It's tough. It's a back-breaker,'' Greene said. ``Obviously you score a goal to get back in the game, and then you give it right back to them. If we knew what was going on there, we would fix it.''
Quick, coming off a 24-save shutout of San Jose, had three shutouts in his previous six starts and had allowed only five goals, combined, in his previous four starts. It has been a strong December for Quick, but the Coyotes brought it to a tough end.
``We didn't give Quickie much help on the first few goals,'' Brown said. ``They were all backdoor tap-ins. We weren't ready to play, right from the start, and that team jumped on us.''
Phoenix took a 1-0 lead 5:31 into the game after a defensive-zone turnover by Jack Johnson. The puck, wobbling a bit, hopped off Jack Johnson's stick and Scottie Upshall picked it up and, after a quick scramble, Doan tucked the puck around Quick.
``Last night, I'm here watching the (Coyotes vs. Anaheim) game and they got a 2-on-0 to start the game off, right on the very first shift,'' Murray said. ``(Tonight) we have a bouncing puck, over Jack's [Johnson] stick, both our defensemen get scrambling and they took advantage of it tonight and it's 1-0. And that just opened the door.''
The Kings tied the game 2:08 after Phoenix's goal, on an alert tip-in by Richardson. Kevin Westgarth took a medium-range shot with Anze Kopitar in front for a deflection, and Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov made a stop but the puck trickled behind him slightly. Richardson spotted it and tapped it over the line to tie the game 1-1.
Phoenix then took the lead back just 1:41 later, at the 9:20 mark. Keith Yandle carried the puck into the Kings' zone, and around Drew Doughty, then fed a cross-ice pass to Ray Whitney. Whitney beat Johnson to the puck and one-timed it past Quick to give Phoenix a 2-1 lead.
The wild action continued as the teams traded goals within 52 seconds.
First, the Kings tied the game 2-2 with a power-play goal with 8:36 remaining in the first period. Doughty took a shot from the left point and Smyth, running traffic in front along with Justin Williams, tipped in the puck. Johnson also got an assist.
Then, with 7:44 remaining, Yandle took a shot that got deflected before it got to Quick. The puck went wide left, and Upshall was there to pick it up and fire a high shot past the prone Quick to give Phoenix a 3-2 lead.
Once again, the teams traded goals, this time within 34 seconds.
First, the Coyotes took a 4-2 lead on a power-play goal with 4:26 remaining. MacLean, in his first NHL game, beat Michal Handzus to the front of the net, took a perfect cross-ice pass from Upshall and tapped it past Quick to give the Coyotes a two-goal lead.
It lasted less than a minute. Anze Kopitar attempted a wraparound that was saved, but with Bryzgalov almost fully inside his net, and a scramble in front of him, Kopitar picked up the rebound and shot high. The puck deflected off Sturm and into the net to cut Phoenix's lead to 4-3 with 3:53 remaining in the period.
The scoring took a temporary pause, but resumed 6:11 into the second period when the Coyotes scored on the power play to take a 5-3 lead. Doan's one-timer from the left point, with Lauri Korpikoski running traffic in front, beat Quick. Doan now has 28 goals and 64 points in 77 career regular-season games against the Kings.
``We still had a chance, being down one goal going into the second, and we missed a few cues on our PK,'' Brown said. ``They found those seams a couple times for goals. We just weren't ready to play.''
Quick got pulled from the game after allowing his sixth goal on 18 shots. The Coyotes took a 6-3 lead with 9:57 remaining in the second period when Kyle Turris' wrist shot from the top of the left circle when under Quick's left arm and into the net. Bernier then replaced Quick.
Bernier stopped all 13 shots he faced, and after the game, Murray said he would stay with his original plan and start Bernier against Philadelphia on Thursday night.
``Tonight was just a bad game for us,'' Greene said. ``A lot of things weren't working, and that's it. This is one of those games that maybe you just want to put behind you. We're lucky to have back-to-backs here again, because I think everybody in this (locker) room wants to get back at it tomorrow.''
|Shane Doan (6) ASST: Scottie Upshall (5), Ed Jovanovski (8)|
1 - 0 PHX
|Brad Richardson (6) ASST: Anze Kopitar (24), Kevin Westgarth (3)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Ray Whitney (6) ASST: Keith Yandle (19), Lauri Korpikoski (8)|
2 - 1 PHX
|PPG - Ryan Smyth (12) ASST: Drew Doughty (16), Jack Johnson (22)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Scottie Upshall (9) ASST: Shane Doan (14), Keith Yandle (20)|
3 - 2 PHX
|PPG - Brett MacLean (1) ASST: Scottie Upshall (6), Adrian Aucoin (12)|
4 - 2 PHX
|Marco Sturm (2) ASST: Anze Kopitar (25)|
4 - 3 PHX
|PPG - Shane Doan (7) ASST: Ray Whitney (19), Keith Yandle (21)|
5 - 3 PHX
|Kyle Turris (6) ASST: NONE|
6 - 3 PHX
|Vernon Fiddler Hooking against Michal Handzus|
|Alec Martinez Tripping against Ray Whitney|
|Davis Drewiske Hooking against Brett MacLean|
|Kevin Westgarth Fighting against Paul Bissonnette|
|Paul Bissonnette Fighting against Kevin Westgarth|
|Jack Johnson Tripping against Kyle Turris|
|Mikkel Boedker Tripping against Trevor Lewis|
|Justin Williams Slashing against Shane Doan|
|Brad Richardson Cross checking against Mikkel Boedker|