By Jerry Brown | NHL.com Correspondent
GLENDALE -- Down 3-0 and totally outplayed after 20 minutes, Coyotes winger Ray Whitney said the No. 1 goal after the first intermission was not to be embarrassed at home by Los Angeles.
"We felt like we got our (butts) kicked and if we didn't get going, we were going to get blown out," Whitney said. "We didn't have any compete in our game at all, and if we didn't want it to get a lot worse, we had to start playing some hockey."
And once they started playing, the Coyotes that entered the night with 15 points in eight games this month were off and running again.
The Coyotes roared back into contention with three goals of their own in the second period, tied the score on Radim Vrbata's 30th goal of the season (see KEY MOMENT below) with 2:27 left in regulation and used shootout tallies by Whitney and Mikkel Boedker to finish off a wild 5-4 win Tuesday night at Jobing.com Arena.
Vrbata and Shane Doan each scored twice and Martin Hanzal tied a career high with three assists as Phoenix (30-21-9) improved its February record to 8-0-1, pulled even in points with the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks (who have two games in hand) and sent an already soaring team confidence to new levels.
Phoenix goalie Mike Smith, who had allowed only four goals in his last six games, gave up three in the first 14:44 of the game and put the Coyotes in a deep hole. But he allowed only one more the rest of the way, while his teammates reveled in a change to win one for him for a change. With the victory, Smith extended his personal winning streak to eight games.
"Smitty didn't like his first period – none of liked our first periods – but he's been so good for us on so many nights that we really wanted this one for him," said Doan, who collected the 41st two-goal game of his NHL career with a pair less than 12 minutes apart in the second. "He shuts the door the rest of the way and in the shootout he wins it for us. It felt good to give him a second shot at this one."
Doan had the best chance to score in overtime, but Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick went post to post to deny him a hat trick and force a shootout. After Whitney and Dustin Brown of the Kings matched goals in the first two rounds, Boedker slipped a shot under Quick's shoulder in the third round before Los Angeles' Jack Johnson shot wide to end it.
Phoenix, dead last in the League on the power play at 12.5 percent, collected three power-play goals in a game for the first time since the season opener on Oct. 8 in San Jose – two of them in the first 5:26 of the second period to get back in the game.
"If you give up three power-play goals on the road, you're going to have a tough time winning," Kings Head Coach Darryl Sutter said.
The Kings came into the game with an NHL-worst 124 goals scored. But Brown assisted on Drew Doughty's tally at 6:18 into the contest and capped the three-goal, first-period burst by deflecting a Willie Mitchell mishit from the point by Smith for just his second goal in the last 15 games. In between, Smith failed to seal off the near post and, while screened by LA's Trevor Lewis, didn't see Andrei Loktionov bad-angle shot slip by.
Photo by Getty Images.
Down three goals with an injury-depleted lineup featuring three players with 15 games or less of NHL experience, the Coyotes came to life quickly in the second period, and their oft-maligned power play did much of the damage.
Johnson took a holding penalty just 28 seconds into play and the Coyotes needed even less time to cash in. Hanzal whipped a hot a pass across the crease to a wide-open Vrbata, who had half a net to shoot at just 22 seconds into the man advantage.
The Coyotes capitalized even faster after Matt Greene tripped Gilbert Brule on the rush five minutes later. Hanzal was in the middle of it again, feathering a backhand pass to the top of the crease where Doan beat Quick to the short side 11 seconds into the power play to slice the deficit to 3-2.
The Kings' power play answered at 11:51, when Kopitar found Justin Williams at point-blank range for his 12th goal -- restoring the LA lead to two at 4-2. But Hanzal wasn't done, picking up a first assist for the third time in the period when his rebound was cleaned up by Doan at 17:07.
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
Radim Vrbata's second goal of the night came at 17:33 of the third period after Kings winger Kyle Clifford was assessed a five-minute match penalty for an illegal hit to the head of Coyotes forward Gilbert Brule, who had to be helped off the ice.
Vrbata carried the puck all the way around the Kings net before roofing a shot over Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and popping the water bottle for his 30th of the season to tie the score 4-4 and eventually force overtime.
► Click here to see the KEY MOMENT.
• Forward Gilbert Brule left the game and did not return after absorbing a hard check to the jaw from Kings forward Kyle Clifford at 13:47 of the third period. Clifford was assessed a 10-minute match penalty for an illegal check to the head. Brule's status will be updated on Wednesday.
• Captain Shane Doan took a team-high five shots on goal and delivered a team-high eight hits. He also scored two goals in an NHL game for the 41st time in his career.
• Forward Radim Vrbata scored his 29th and 30th goals of the season to become the first Coyotes player to score 30 goals in a season since captain Shane Doan did it in 2008-09. Doan finished that season with 31 goals.
• The Coyotes, who trailed 3-0 after one period, entered the game 0-13-0 in the games they trailed after 20 minutes this season.
• Forward Matt Watkins made his NHL debut. He played 6:37 and was minus-1. Click here to listen to Watkins discuss his first NHL game.
• Tuesday's game was the 100th game played between these teams in Arizona. The Coyotes own a 55-32-11-2 record in those games.
• The Coyotes played minus injured forwards Kyle Chipchura (upper-body) and Taylor Pyatt (upper-body), and injured defenseman Rostislav Klesla (upper-body). Pyatt and Klesla are on the injured reserve list. The Coyotes also played minus defenseman Derek Morris, who has taken a leave of absence because of a family illness.
• The Coyotes' next game is Thursday vs. the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
"We didn't have the start we wanted. We knew that they would come out hard and they did. We were flat in the first (period) but after the first we talked in the dressing room about how we wanted to make a comeback... (It was) a big win, a big two points."
"After we came back and played well in the second (period), we got ourselves back in the game. So basically we just said ‘they won the first, we won the second, who’s going to win the third?’ We ended up getting the points."
"The first (period) was what it was and we were rolling, and they got that early power-play goal (in the second period) and that took some wind out of our sails."