May 22, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Kings center (11) Anze Kopitar celebrates his first period goal against the Phoenix Coyotes during game five of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kopitar Reigns Supreme as Kings Pick Up First Win

Game 4: Kings Win 4-2, improve to 1-2-1

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Both clubs and their respective fanbases have been waiting for this matchup for eight months. The last time these two teams met, the Kings were celebrating a trip to the Stanley Cup Final – and on enemy soil. The Kings were on a mission to continue their winning ways in the desert and that’s just what they did tonight.

If the Los Angeles Kings were deterred by their late collapse in Edmonton on Tuesday night, it didn’t show as the reigning champs rebounded defeating the Phoenix Coyotes to pick up their first win of the season behind Jonathan Quick who turned way 30 shots to preserve the victory.

Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings, however, did get off to a discouraging start. Early on, Los Angeles was treated to a full 5-on-3 power play and despite spending the vast majority of the man-advantage in the attacking zone (during which time a Phoenix defender lost his stick), the Kings could not score, which has unfortunately become a theme as the Kings are now 0-for-24 on the man-advantage this season with five squandered chances coming tonight.

On the up side though, Anze Kopitar broke through in a big way by scoring his first two goals of the season. Kings’ colour analyst Jim Fox spoke pre-game about how Kopitar has looked gradually better in his first two games and it was only a matter of time before the Slovenian got on the scoresheet. Fox had the right idea.

Jeff Carter also added to the Los Angeles offense scoring his second tally in as many games and defenseman Jake Muzzin scored as well, registering his first-career NHL goal. Even Kyle Clifford added an assist extending his point streak to four games. With four goals tonight, the Kings equaled their combined total from the first three games of the season. Call it what you will but at the end of the day, a win’s a win.

The wasted 5-on-3 man-advantage early would have dissuaded most teams but not the Kings. They preserved, showing the Coyotes and their fans that last spring’s West Final was no fluke.

For Phoenix, Mikkel Boedker scored on a 5-on-3 and captain Shane Doan added another but it was all the Yotes could muster. The Kings were 6-for-7 on the penalty kill, improving their track record in said category and despite still missing Willie Mitchell, the Kings defense looked on par again tonight.

There was a bit of bad blood shown late as Shane Doan, still harboring hard feelings after last spring’s playoff matchup, got into a fight with Mike Richards as well as trying to get under the skin of Dustin Brown but to no avail. It was too little, too late as the Kings finish their road trip on a high note.

Now, the Los Angeles Kings will be heading home as they prepare to host the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night. There is no love lost in that rivalry so Monday’s matchup should be an intense one.

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