The hits just keep on coming for the Kings in loss to Coyotes

Los Angeles Kings right winger Justin Williams is wheeled off the ice by medical personnel after injuring his right leg against the Phoenix Coyotes in the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Dec. 26, 2009, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)
Game 38: Coyotes 3, Kings 2

Wow, that could've gone better.

The Kings returned to the ice, after gorging themselves on holiday ham and figgy pudding, to play the resurgent Phoenix Coyotes.

You know, those same Phoenix Coyotes who were all stressed out about their ownership situation, until the Ice Edge Holdings investment group stepped up to the plate and made a play to buy the team and keep them in Arizona. Guess the news of stability has given this team new life, since they have been money at home.

Really, the news of Justin Williams broken leg really was the focus of many of the stories here in L.A., and rightfully so. This team has been dinged up so much, yet have continued to find a way to win. The Kings got back Jack MF'n Johnson, Wayne Simmonds and Brandon Segal, but lost Jarret Stoll and Williams. What else is new?

The Kings seemed to rally around their fallen comrade and tlalied the first Kings goal, when Dustin Brown picked up a rebound to score with ninth goal of the season. But the 'Yotes scored twice to take the lead going into the second period.

Jonny (Don't Cal Me Jonathon) Quick was stellar as usual, keeping the Coyotes off the board while making several killer saves. And when Anze Kopitar's wrister was knocked in by Michal Handzus, the Kings had Phoenix right where they wanted them. Too bad the inexperience of Corey Elkins caused him to cough up the puck and cost the Kings the game.

That sounds harsh, but I really didn't think Elkins needed to be in the lineup. Considering the Kings got back Simmonds and were well-rested, Elkins should've been sent down to Manchester and allowed Peter Harrold or Teddy Purcell to play. More than likely, coach Terry Murray probably felt Elkins should get more time with the club, considering how well he played in 13+ minutes against Calgary. Either way, it's a lesson that might haunt the rookie from West Bloomfield, Michigan.

Don't let the horrible news of Williams' broken leg taint this game. The Kings played well, all things considered. They had no takeaways, and played smart, tight defense all game. Quick should no signs of rust, although the rest of the squad did. They didn't fold when Williams went down, in fact it spurred them on.

This game was a tuneup, getting all the pieces up to speed. Next game, the Kings should be truly ready to bring their A-game. At least, they can sweat off those extra pieces of pumpkin pie in practice. Lord knows I need to.

• AP: Justin Williams breaks right leg
"It's not good," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "We'll take him back on the flight with us tonight, have the team doctors look at him and get the word out."
• AP: Yandle lifts Coyotes past Kings
Williams fell backward with his right leg trapped underneath his torso, dropped onto his back and remained on the ice as play continued briefly in the Kings’ end. He was taken off by stretcher after a lengthy delay.
• LA Times: It's a short reunion for Kings in loss to Coyotes
"Very disappointing. It's very disappointing for Willie," Murray said. "He's gone through some injuries the last couple of years that he worked hard to get back to playing a good game. And he was really happy with the line and how everything was going at the start of the year. It's very unfortunate."
• LAKings.com: Kings come up short
``I don't even know if it was me or Jovanovski,’’ Kopitar said. ``We got tangled up and we went down. I kind of skated away. At first, he didn't seem hurt at all to me, so I skated away. Then I looked back and he was laying there and, as soon as I got down there to him, I knew it wasn't good at all, because he was pretty mad and pretty frustrated.’’
They said it
    "Obviously with Justin going down, we kind of rallied around that. We knew he was hurt pretty badly, and I think we responded pretty well right after that. They kept on coming and we didn’t sustain that pressure. I think we got through the first period, but this is one of those times when we needed to be better." – Dustin Brown, on facing adversity in the first period.
    "As bad as we played in the first two periods, we were still only one behind. We tied it up, but then it was the same story again. We just make it too hard on ourselves, with our turnovers and not-strong plays at the blue line, getting pucks in deep. They came back and scored on us." – Anze Kopitar, on the rest of the game.
    "Machines can break down, probably more, because of rust than use. Iwouldn't say that we were rusty, but eight days between games is a longtime. On the other side of it, we used it, I think, the right way. Nowwe have to get games under our belt to get the timing back and do theright things." – Terry Murray, on the loss after the 8-day layoff
Around the Kingdom

• The Royal Half: Williams 4:27
So what does one do as a Kings fan in this situation? With the history of the great LAPD line, which never seemed to be able to feature Jason Allison, Ziggy Palffy and Adam Deadmarsh all at the same time due to injuries... Williams' broken leg just seems to be par for the course for Kings fans. I hate to say it... but we are kinda used to stuff like this now. And it really sucks. So what can you do? Just keep battling, I guess.
• Mayor's Manor: Addition and Subtraction in Phoenix
While many Kings players and fans were downright giddy about the reuniting of the top line prior to the game, those visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads have gone sour yet again. Williams broke his right leg before the game was even five minutes old.
• HockeyBuzz: Coyotes Win 9th Straight At Home 3-2, Kings Lose Williams to Broken Leg
As much as I ride the guy, not having Teddy Purcell in the lineup and inserting a rookie with 2 games NHL experience cost the Kings the game and a very important 2 points.
From across the aisle, the Phoenix viewpoint

• Arizona Republic: Coyotes hold off Kings, win ninth straight game at home
"Preferably, you don't want to be 6-on-3," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said, laughing. "That's probably not the best advantage you could have. Unfortunately, it ended up that way. Give our guys credit, they hung around. 'Bryz' made a couple of good saves."
• Arizona Republic: Coyotes high level of play is no surprise to Adrian Aucoin
"You see it time and again, especially since the lockout, you have these teams that people don't expect to play well," Aucoin said. "You don't need superstars; you just need everyone to play really well. You don't need anybody to be great, but you need everybody to be good. So I don't think it's that surprising."
• NHL.com: Coyotes beat Kings 3-2 for ninth straight home win
It's the longest home winning streak for the Coyotes since they moved from Winnipeg in 1996 and matched the franchise record set from Dec. 27, 1992, to Jan. 23, 1993. Phoenix is 11-2-0 in its last 13 home games and has won six of its last eight overall as it tries to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
• Hipchecks:  Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
The Kings pull Quick to have the 6 on 4 advantage. Then the refs make acrap call on Vandypants and he goes to the box. 6 on 3? You have got tobe kidding me! Then Bryz and our PK really step up and play balls tothe walls for about the last minute. And, we win! Way to go boys. It was a hard fought win.
Peeping the dailies


 

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