COYOTES DROP 4-0 GAME IN LOS ANGELES
Phoenix at Los Angeles
By: Chad Lynch
In the first period, the Coyotes tried to get the offense rolling early as Ladislav Nagy tried to convert on a wrap-around shot in the Los Angeles end, but was stopped by the right leg pad of Kings netminder Mathieu Garon.
Shortly after Garon stopped Nagy, Phoenix defenseman Matt Jones was called for hooking, marking the first power play of the contest. Fortunately, the man-advantage would only last two seconds as Los Angeles forward Mike Cammalleri was whistled for interference at 1:57 of the first, effectively wiping out the power play.
At 5:48 of the first, Los Angeles had the first real quality scoring chance of the game when Alexander Frolov took the puck from the left corner, made his way to the slot and sent a shot on goal that Coyotes goaltender Brian Boucher was able to squeeze between his legs and hold until the whistle stopped play.
Boyd Devereaux tried to give the Coyotes the lead near the eight -minute mark when he took a pass at the Kings blue line that sent him in alone on Garon. Devereaux tried to slip the puck through the legs of the Los Angeles netminder, but was stopped on the doorstep, as the game remained scoreless.
With 8:14 to play in the opening period, the Kings capped off a offensive rush in the Phoenix zone when Craig Conroy sent a wrist shot over the shoulder of Boucher for a 1-0 Kings lead. On the play, the Kings had pulled Garon in favor of an extra attacker as the Coyotes were facing a delayed penalty on Denis Gauthier. The penalty, which was to be a double minor for high-sticking was amended to a minor for high-sticking after the goal, putting Los Angeles back on the power play.
The Kings made the most of the five-on-four advantage as defenseman Joe Corvo's blast from the point at 12:36, made its way through a screen and eluded Boucher as it entered the Coyotes net for a 2-0 Kings lead.
Phoenix went on their own power play at 12:59 of the period when Tom Kostopoulus was sent to the box for interference, but the Coyotes offensive attack struggled to get pressure on Garon and the penalty expired with Los Angeles still holding onto a two-goal lead.
With 1:52 remaining in the first, the Kings struck again when veteran Luc Robitaille sent a wrist shot from the left side of the slot at found the top corner of the blocker of Boucher, putting the Kings on top 3-0. The goal was Robitaille's sixth of the season and 548th as a member of the Kings.
The Coyotes would escape the period without surrendering another goal, but at the 20-minute mark, Phoenix forward Tim Jackman was assessed a roughing penalty giving the Kings a power play to start the second period.
The Coyotes began play in the second period; they did so with a change in goal as Curtis Joseph took over for Boucher between the pipes for Phoenix.
It didn't take long for the Kings to test Joseph as he made a stacked pad save in-close with 1:58 gone in the second and then flashed a big glove save less than a minute later to keep the Kings from adding to their lead.
With 16:37 left in the second, Phoenix made another trip to the penalty box when Nagy was called for high-sticking. This time, the Coyotes penalty killers raised their level of play and not only held the Kings scoreless on the power play, but they didn't surrender a single shot on goal either.
Shortly after the penalty to Nagy expired, Los Angeles took their own trip to the box when Denis Grebeshkov was caught hooking, putting the Coyotes on their first man-advantage of the stanza. Phoenix was able to improve their pressure in the Kings zone, but still couldn't find their first goal of the contest.
At 8:31 of the second, the Kings went back on the power play when Coyote forward Geoff Sanderson was called for hooking after he lost his stick along the boards and by the time he had regained control, was forced to use it in an attempt to slow down a Los Angeles rush. But just as they had done earlier in the period, the Coyotes wore down the Kings attack with tenacious fore-checking as Sanderson returned to the ice and the Coyotes to full strength.
Los Angeles forward Mike Cammalleri took a hooking penalty at 11:30 of the period, giving Phoenix a chance to chip into the Kings lead, but on the power play, a series of costly turnovers led to scoring chances for Los Angeles. But Joseph was strong in goal as he turned aside everything the Kings threw at him, including a point-blank shot by Pavol Demitra in the slot, which "Cujo" kicked away with his left leg.
The Kings kept the pressure on the Coyotes through much of the period by increasing their shot totals and keeping the puck in the coyotes end. The bright spot for Phoenix was the goaltending of Joseph who turned aside the Kings drives and kept the Coyotes within striking distance of Los Angeles.
The Kings took a late penalty when they were given a bench minor with 2:06 remaining for too-many-men on the ice. Phoenix tried to make something positive out of the late man-advantage, but their rushes into the Kings zone were met with a wall of defenders who kept the pressure off Garon as the second period came to an end with Los Angeles still holding onto a 3-0 lead.
The final period began with the Coyotes still having to play back on their heels as the Kings continued to bring offensive pressure. Phoenix did continue to thrive on the play of Joseph in net, who made a highlight kick save on a shot from the slot with 3:20 gone in the period.
Phoenix received their first power play of the third when Kings forward Alexander Frolov was called for tripping at 4:15 of the third. But the Kings penalty-killing unit was as sharp as they had been all night and the Coyotes struggled to find ways to get the puck to the net.
As the third period continued, the Coyotes tried to get back into the game as they finally found an offensive rhythm as they were able to set up in the Kings zone, work the puck around the perimeter and generate quality shots on net. But even with the improved puck movement and ability t get pucks to the front of the net, Phoenix was unable to put it past Garon and the Los Angeles netminder made a series of big saves and controlled his rebounds to keep the Kings in control of the game.
The Coyotes found themselves shorthanded once again when center Mike Ricci was given a double-minor for high-sticking with 4:55 left in the period. Fortunately, the Kings power play would only last a little under two minutes as Grebeshkov took his own penalty (tripping) to even the play at four-on-four.
Phoenix made a last ditch effort to get back into the contest in the final minute as they pulled Joseph from the net, but Kings forward Luc Robitaille was able to fire the puck into the empty net for a 4-0 Kings lead.
That would conclude the scoring in the game as the Kings cruised to a 4-0 victory over the Coyotes.