GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Sometimes, a game ends pretty much as it should.
Yes, the Kings could have come away with two points Saturday night, and very nearly did, as they had some quality scoring chances late, plus an overtime power play. The resilient Phoenix Coyotes didn’t stop working, though, and earned a 3-2 overtime victory before an announced 10,379 at Jobing.com Arena.
Daymond Langkow’s impossible-to-stop goal -- his short-range shot deflected off the stick of Jack Johnson, just a couple feet from the net -- was nothing for the Kings to hang their heads about, but they were left to think about some chances earlier in the game that were left lacking.
``I think we had a lot of good chances,’’ Kings captain Dustin Brown said. ``We probably gave up more than we normally do. I don’t know how many shots we ended up with, but we had opportunities to win the game.’’
After a scoreless, back-and-forth first period -- in which the Kings performed poorly on two power plays -- the Kings got a momentum-grabbing goal from Mike Richards early in the second. The Coyotes answered less than three minutes later, though, and took the lead with less than five minutes left in the second.
Anze Kopitar scored the game-tying goal 6:30 into the third period, and the Kings looked to have a strong chance when they went on the power play late in the third period, an advantage that would carry over to overtime for a 4-on-3. The Kings had already scored two overtime goals this season.
This overtime power play, though, seemed to lack some urgency, as the Kings recorded only one shot on goal. Then, Langkow scored the game-winner with 43.7 seconds remaining.
Radim Vrbata, who scored the Coyotes’ two regulation goals, made a nice pass to Langkow, who took the puck to the net. From a tight angle, Langkow fired a wrist shot. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was in position for the save, but the puck veered off Johnson’s stick and into the net.
``It just found a way. It just snuck through,’’ Quick said. ``Especially at that point of the game, that’s something you want back.’’
Quick allowed three goals for the second consecutive game -- after a run of three consecutive shutouts -- but was not at fault, as he made 30 saves, including a handful of big saves early in a scoreless game.
Drew Doughty returned after missing five games with an injury, and the Kings put 39 shots on Coyotes goalie Mike Smith, but their off-and-on power play slumbered again, going 0-for-4. The forward lines -- shaken up already by the absence of injured winger Simon Gagne -- got another look in the third period.
``We had our moments in the game where (the forecheck) was really good,’’ Kings coach Terry Murray said, ``and then at the end, though, we had problems getting out of our end. So you get into the third period, at a critical time, and there was no forecheck at all because of the play that we were having problems with on our breakouts.’’
Shots were 12-12 in the scoreless first period, as the teams traded chances throughout the period. The best chance came with just over eight minutes left. At the end of a second consecutive ineffective Kings power play, Langkow forced the puck away from Willie Mitchell near the Phoenix blue line and had a breakaway, but Quick prevented a goal.
The Kings broke the scoreless tie 2:58 into the second period. Moments after Brown nearly tapped in a goal, Brown picked up the puck behind the Phoenix net and centered a pass toward Richards. The puck got deflected slightly on the way, but Richards secured it and scored on a close-range wrist shot to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. Mitchell also got an assist.
Phoenix tied the game just 2:38 after the Kings took the lead. David Schlemko kept the puck in at the offensive blue line and pushed it low. Martin Hanzal passed to Vrbata in the slot, and Vrbata had plenty of open ice and carried the puck far right. Quick came down to try to cut down the angle, but Vrbata shot and scored to make it a 1-1 game.
Vrbata’s second goal of the period gave the Coyotes a 2-1 lead with 4:37 remaining in the second period. After a defensive-zone faceoff win, the Coyotes moved the puck up the ice quickly. Hanzal’s cross-ice pass in the offensive zone found Vrbata, who got behind the Kings’ defense and was alone. Vrbata’s tight-angle shot beat Quick before he could slide across. Rostislav Klesla also got an assist.
Kopitar tied the game 2-2 for the Kings, 6:30 into the third period. Smith made the shot on a medium-range shot by Hunter but couldn’t control the rebound. Richardson missed an attempt but Kopitar, to the left of the net, knocked it into the net to tie the game 2-2. Matt Greene also got an assist.
``We tied the game. Kopi gets the big goal that ties the game up, 2-2,’’ Murray said. ``I thought we had, in the second half of the second period and in the third, we had some really good looks. We played well enough to win the game. Phoenix played well tonight. They had a player who stepped up, big time. Vrbata played a big-time game, two goals and set up the winning goal in overtime. That’s a big effort.’’
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1 - 0 LAK
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