Game 48: Kings hold Coyotes at bay in Phoenix
Game 48: Kings 4, Coyotes 3
This doesn't change a thing.
Yes, the Kings won the game Saturday night, holding off the tired Coyotes with the help of an acrobatic Jarret Stoll, whose diving shot confounded Ilya Bryzgalov.
Yes, the Kings got out to a torrid start, and scored three unanswered goals in rapid succession. Justin Williams (18), Drew Doughty (4) and Alec Martinez (3) struck in the first 14 minutes of their fourth game against the Coyotes, a team that has had the Kings' number this season. It seemed the Kings had finally figured it out and turned the corner.
And that's when they started the let up off the gas. Give a hungry team like the Coyotes that kind of opening, and they'll find a way to score.
On Saturday, the Coyotes were able to stem the tide and spot the Kings three goals. Then, like the pack of jackals they are named after, the Coyotes slowly stalked the Kings and nipped away at the lead.
Suddenly, the Coyotes snuck one past Jonathan Quick in the first period, when Lee Stempniak scored his 13th of the season. Then again in the second, Martin Hanzal scored a power play goal, and Phoenix was back in it. Before the Kings could finally halt the rush, Stempniak scored again to tie the game.
Three unanswered goals let the Coyotes right back into the game. That's what troubling. L.A. had all the momentum in the game, and they frittered it away.
Jarret Stoll scored a remarkable sprawling backhand goal, flying across the ice after depositing the puck in the net to give the Kings the final lead of the game. The Coyotes made a mad rush toward the end of the game, but the defense clamped down.
Quick hasn't had that much goal support the last four games, as the offense only scored four times in those game. Thing is, Quick is still fourth overall in goals against in the whole league. He made some solid saves Saturday, raising the question just why isn't he on the All-Star team? Granted, the Kings have had a crappy January, but he's played decent. With one more win, he'll be on pace for 40 victories on the season.
The Kings are matched up with the league's top goaltender Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins on Monday. Can they use Saturday's win as a springboard for success? This rollercoaster is exhausting, but you know what? I wouldn't trade it for the world.
• AP: Stoll’s diving goal the difference for Kings
After working the puck for close to 30 seconds, the Kings set up Jack Johnson for a shot between the circles that caromed off Los Angeles wing Ryan Smyth just left of the crease. Sensing he needed an all-or-nothing effort, Stoll dived and swiped simultaneously, sending the puck to the back of the net.• LA Times: Kings get a close one to go their way
"Just kind of like Bobby Orr — you know, diving," Stoll said, referring to the Hall of Fame defenseman's famous horizontal flight in scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Boston Bruins in 1970.• LAKings.com: Kings win in the desert
At a point in the game -- and, perhaps, in their season -- when the Kings desperately needed something good to happen, it did. At a point when the Kings needed someone to step forward, three of their veteran players did just that.• NHL.com: Kings blow lead, then beat Coyotes 4-3
The Kings had only two goals in their last three games but needed less than eight minutes to equal that total against the sleepy Coyotes. Phoenix played without three defensemen in Ed Jovanovski (lower body),Derek Morris (lower body) andDavid Schlemko (upper body), and lost another when Michal Rozsival suffered a lower-body injury in the second period.They said it
“To hear some music in the dressing room after a win is nice, and see some smiles around here. We got two points and they got none. That’s a good night, however you look at it. There were a lot of good things here tonight. We had a lot of good things against these guys at home on Thursday and didn’t get the result. Tonight, we got the result, and we’ve got to build from here. We have to have a good day at practice tomorrow and get ready for Monday and a big, huge two games before the break.” - Jarret Stoll, on being able to enjoy a win.
“Whenever you go through a bit of a streak like that, it’s going to take a big effort. Even if you’re winning five or six in a row, every game, you need a big effort to win. There are no gimmes in this league, especially here in the West. There’s a lot of talented teams, so we have to come to play every night. We got a big win here, and we’re looking to move forward and build on the momentum that we started here tonight.” - Jonathan Quick, on the big effort to hold on for the win
“It looked like some penalties started to kick in on us. They made a great play on their power-play goal. A seem pass, weak-side defenseman to the man in front of the net, with composure to find the weak side. It’s hockey. We maybe could have handled it a little bit better, a little more composed, but we got through it and came back in the third period and brought work back to our game again.” - Terry Murray, on how things got away from them in the second period.