The Kings opened their exhibition schedule with a pair of simultaneous games against the Phoenix Coyotes in different states, but both games followed a similar pattern: tight throughout and decided late.
In Glendale, Ariz., Dustin Penner scored with 49 seconds remaining to give the Kings a 3-2 victory over the Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena. Less than an hour later, at STAPLES Center, the Coyotes scored in the fourth round of the shootout to beat the Kings 2-1 in front of 10,641.
``We’ve been out there practicing hard, but there’s nothing really quite like getting hit and getting rubbed out, I guess,'' Kings captain Dustin Brown said after the game in Los Angeles. ``The physical side of it makes it a lot more taxing. Like I said, we’ve been working hard in practice but you don’t have that grind, that body contact. The preseason, in your first game, you’re pretty tired after. You’re getting in better shape as the preseason goes on, and that’s, I think, the whole idea behind it, just to get your body used to it.’’
The game in Arizona technically kicked off the Kings’ preseason, since it started a half-hour earlier, and the Kings got it started well, with a first-period goal from offseason free-agent signing Ethan Moreau.
Phoenix tied the game at the 5:22 mark of the first period on a goal by Keith Yandle, and that’s how it stayed until Shane Doan gave the Coyotes the lead with 9:31 remaining in the third period.
The Kings rallied, though, as Tyler Toffoli scored a power-play goal with 5:46 remaining in the third period and Penner scored the game-winning goal with 49 seconds remaining.
Jonathan Bernier started in goal for the Kings and stopped 17 of 18 shots in two periods. Jeff Zatkoff played the third period and stopped 8 of 9 shots.
Trevor Lewis had two assists, while Toffoli and Patrick Mullen each had one assist. The Kings outshot the Coyotes 29-27 and went 1-for-6 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
At STAPLES Center, the scoring came early.
The Kings killed an early penalty but allowed the first goal. Darian Dziurzynski held the puck behind the net and centered to Ethan Werek, who beat Kings defenseman Davis Drewiske to the front of the net and beat goalie Jonathan Quick with a high one-time shot at the 8:21 mark.
The Kings tied the game with a power-play goal 5:53 into the second period. Mike Richards shot from the right circle and, with Brown running traffic in front, Slava Voynov skated in and knocked in the loose puck.
Voynov, an All-Star in the American Hockey League last season, has been given a higher-profile role in training camp due to the absence of star defenseman Drew Doughty, who hasn't signed a contract and hasn't reported to camp.
That's where the game stayed until the shootout, where Brown and Andy Miele traded goals before Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored in the fourth round.
Quick stopped 12 of 13 shots in his two periods. Martin Jones played the third period and overtime and stopped all nine shots he faced, until the shootout. The Kings outshot the Coyotes 40-22 (including 22-5 in the first period) and went 1-for-7 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
``I was real pleased with a lot of things that happened in this game,'' Kings coach Terry Murray said. ``Certainly the start of the game, the first period, was what we wanted. We talked about coming out and doing the right things in the first half of the game, and I liked it. We did it. Overall, lots of chances, not able to finish. Lots of shooting opportunities. We’re trying to be a little too fine, still at times, but the compete, the quickness, the speed, the conditioning factor was all real positive.’’