Kings vs. Coyotes: Split-Scrimmage Game 2


The Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes have split wins between split-squad pre-season games on Monday night.  One game took place in Arizona, one in Los Angeles.

It’s the second time in two weeks that the Kings and Coyotes have split games.  During rookie training camp the teams played two exhibition games, the Coyotes winning the first game 4-1; the Kings winning the second 3-1.

The second game of Monday night’s double-feature of split-scrimmage games started in Los Angeles at 7:30 p.m.

Two minutes into the game the Kings scored on a backhand shot by left winger Andy Andreoff.  The play was either an extreme display of talent or a fluke.  Judging by Andreoff’s elated expression of awe, we can assume the latter.  Andreoff picked up the puck in the corner, then began to skate behind the net.  It appeared Andreoff attempted to backhand a centering pass to teammate David Van der Gulik; instead the puck went off of the skate of Arizona defensemen Connor Murphy and through the five-hole of Arizona goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

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Early on in the second period, Coyotes forward Rob Klinkhammer tried to make a centering pass to break-out of Arizona’s zone.  The puck hit a skate and was picked up by Anze Kopitar.  Kopitar made one quick pass up to Marian Gaborik who was all alone, deep in the Coyotes zone.  Gaborik received the pass at the hash-marks of the Arizona circles, so you couldn’t call the play a breakaway.  Gaborik from that range, all alone . . . that’s trouble for any opponent.  A quick wrist shot to the far side of the net, low blocker, gave the Kings a 2-0 lead.

As the clock wound down the game opened up more and more.  Shots and chances started to pile up in the third period.  A 2-0 lead is said to be the most dangerous lead in hockey, and if the 2013-2014 playoffs were any indication, comebacks are becoming more and more apparent.

Two minutes into the third period Coyotes centermen Justin Hodgeman picked up a drop pass from Lucas Lessio just inside the Kings blueline.  Hodgeman drove the puck wide, skated behind the net untouched, and scored on a wrap-around, beating Kings goaltender Jeff Deslauriers.

Two minutes later Marian Gaborik notched his second goal of the night on a beautiful give-and-go play with Anze Kopitar.  The play showcased a little taste of what’s to come from the Deadly Duo.  The play is also an introduction to the argument that Kopitar, Gaborik and Brown are one of the best lines in hockey.  3-1 Kings.

Halfway through the period Jake Muzzin retrieved the puck deep in the Kings zone.  Muzzin wrapped the puck along the boards up to Valentin Zykov on the wing.   Zykov lost control of the puck, and it was picked up by Hodgeman.  Hodgeman bowled his way into the slot, bumping into a teammate, and managed to get a short pass over to Philip Lane.  Lane made a nifty move through the defensemen’s legs, giving him enough space to get a good shot off.  3-2 Kings.

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  • With under two minutes to play Anze Kopitar took a penalty for delay of game after shooting the puck over the glass.  The Coyotes scored six-seconds later.  A powerplay goal, on a nicely drawn up play off the face-off.  Arizona’s Mikkel Boedker swooped in and picked the puck up off the draw, curled around and passed the puck across the blueline to defensemen Michael Stone who fired a slapshot from the point.  Tie game.

    The Kings were unable to capitalize on a powerplay for the remaining 1:12 in overtime.  The shootout required four rounds.  Kopitar scored in the first, and Coyotes Antoine Vermette answered in the second.  Dustin Brown and Gaborik missed on their attempts.  In the fourth round Nic Shore buried for the Kings, and Deslauriers was able to stifle Hodgeman with a pokecheck securing the win for the Kings.

    Kings goaltenders split time during the game.  Martin Jones played the first half of the game.  Jones was perfect stopping 9/9 shots.  Jeff Deslauriers, who was invited to the Kings training camp on a tryout basis allowed 3 goals on 17 shots, for a goals against average of .824, not including shots faced or the goal allowed in the shootout.

    In typical preseason fashion the gameplay was sloppy.  As players began to get their feet set, and work back to familiarity with teammates, play opened up and shots and opportunities increased accordingly.

    Marian Gaboriak and Anze Kopitar looked like they have been skating together all summer, as they showed no signs of rust, unfamiliarity, or taking their collective foot off the pedal.  Look for this Duo to be dangerous all season long, especially around the net.  Deadly dangerous.

    This is why we bow to the Kings.

    Sep 22, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings goalie Jeff Deslauriers (33) stops the final shot in the shoot out by Arizona Coyotes center Justin Hodgeman (52) at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports