The LA Kings showed a lot of mental toughness, edging out a 3-2 shootout victory against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.
Winners of three of their last four, and getting points in all four games, the LA Kings took their game on the road against an opponent they had yet to see this season in the Arizona Coyotes. Rick Tocchet‘s group entered Thursday with a 7-6-2 record, which is better than most people expected them to be at this time. It’s also something we discussed on the latest podcast episode.
In the series finale against the Sharks and the one-game series against the Wild, the LA Kings put more of an emphasis on starting out strong, taking control of the game in the first period. And through the first 20 minutes against the Coyotes, it looked like business as usual, with Dustin Brown netting his eighth goal of the year just over four minutes into the opening frame.
And approximately seven minutes later, in what ended up being a weird sequence, the LA Kings tallied their second goal off the stick of Jeff Carter. The play was initially ruled no-goal due to goaltender interference, but LA Kings head coach Todd McLellan challenged the play with no apparent contact to Darcy Kuemper.
The ruling was overturned, and the LA Kings took a 2-0 lead into the locker room.
Much like the Wild and San Jose games, we knew an earlier second-period push was going to happen, and that proved true as Arizona tallied their first goal of the game just 60 seconds into the game. Conor Garland was initially credited with the goal, but it was later given to Nick Schmaltz.
The first fix or six minutes of the second period were all Arizona, and they tied it up off the stick of Phil Kessel.
Dustin Brown came very close to tallying his second goal of the night and his ninth of the year, just missing the net on this play.
The Kings and Coyotes were deadlocked at two goals apiece heading into the second intermission. And after a largely uneventful third period, these two clubs were guaranteed a point in the extra frame.
After five minutes of nothing doing, although Jonathan Quick made a tremendous save to keep the Coyotes from taking home two points, the game went to a shootout — the LA Kings second in four games.
It looked like the Kings were about to lose a heartbreaking game, with Adrian Kempe needing to score to keep the shootout going, and that’s exactly what he did. Quick stopped the ‘Yotes attempt, and Gabe Vilardi followed with the game-winner on this nifty move.
LA Kings Three Stars
Gabe Vilardi – shootout winner, giving the LA Kings their third straight win
Dustin Brown – eighth goal of the year, and almost scored his ninth
Jonathan Quick – stopped 20-of-22 shots
Vilardi on second-period adjustments to regain control of the game after Arizona tied it
I think just the first five minutes, they scored the two goals early, right away. But after that, we played well, actually. No, I don’t think there’s anything in particular. I thought just the first five minutes were bad on our part, and they got it going there, and they were able to tie up early in the second.
Vilardi on his set thoughts going into the shootout situation
I kind of have a few moves that I do in practice that I really like. But at the same, it depends on the goalie and what I’m seeing out there throughout the game.
McLellan on why the team has been so successful over the last three games
Some consistency with lines. I think establishing and getting some established defensemen back. Matt Roy just makes a huge difference back there, not that the group that we had in throughout the injuries, not that they weren’t capable, but he just stabilizes things so much back there and just makes us a little bit deeper.
On what happened in the early goings in the second period
Well, we were happy with the first [period], probably a little too happy, obviously, because we didn’t respond early in the second. The first six minutes were certainly in their favor. They scored, we took a penalty, they scored at the back end of it. The TV timeout helped us. We had a chance to regroup a little bit, and It was pretty easy. We talked about putting ourselves in the situation. All the work we did in the first period just gets us back to even now. I think that’s where the guys settled in and started to do things right again. They’re a hard team to play against, — they weren’t going away. They weren’t gonna roll over and play dead for us and took us two goals to figure that out.
LA Kings Schedule
These same two clubs will meet again on Saturday with puck drop set for 4 pm PT.