GLENDALE – Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett had a little chat with Mikkel Boedker after practice on Monday, and the message was one that every young scorer wants to hear.
“We had a long talk about how I need to keep the puck when I have it and not be in such a rush to give it up,” said, Boedker, who had gone seven games without a goal. “He wanted me to keep my feet moving, be more in control and make things happen.”
Boedker was all over the ice on Tuesday, scoring a goal in each of the first two periods as the Coyotes rolled to a 4-0 lead and cooled off the Los Angeles Kings, 5-2, to jump from ninth to sixth place in the tight Western Conference playoff race.
Phoenix captain Shane Doan added his team-leading ninth goal and fifth in the last seven games as the Coyotes, who had lost 11 of the last 15 meetings to Los Angeles including last year's Western Conference final in five games, had the tired Kings on the run from the outset.
“Last year is over with. We can't think about that. But it's always good to beat a rival and always good to beat L.A,” Boedker said. “We had two days (off) and a good practice, and this game was important to us. We came out and showed we are an elite team in the West and we can play against everybody.”
Doan and Raffi Torres each had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes and Rob Klinkhammer thwarted a late L.A. rally by scoring for the second time in two games since being called up from Portland of the American Hockey League.
Mike Richards and Dustin Brown scored power-play goals as the Kings sliced the Coyotes' lead to 4-2 with more than 15 minutes to play. But the Kings, playing on back-to-back nights after beating Calgary 3-1 at home Monday, lost the momentum when Klinkhammer scored with just under 10 minutes left.
Mike Smith made 31 saves for his 11th win of the season. Jonathan Quick made 24 saves but allowed four goals in the first 17 shots he saw and has allowed four or more goals in three of his last six starts.
“We were tired, they were fresh, it's not hard to figure out,” Kings Head Coach Darryl Sutter said.
Doan had four goals in his first 19 games but his hot streak comes at a great time. The Coyotes have now won four of five games against Pacific Division opponents in the last 11 days – winning two in a stretch of three straight games against Anaheim and beating Dallas on Saturday before a rare recent win over the Kings.
“The last couple of games I have just been around the net at the right time. I'm fortunate to be getting them,” Doan said. “I don't know if I'm playing particularly great – goals can hide things – but my game is coming.”
So is Boedker's. Just over nine minutes into the game, Torres flipped a puck to the top of the circles. Boedker kicked it to his stick, gained control and patiently wristed a shot that beat Quick to the stick side.
After Smith made a big glove save on Jake Muzzin in the slot to kill a Kings power play, Doan stretched the lead. Steve Sullivan hit Derek Morris at the point with a diagonal pass and Morris spotted Doan coming out of the left corner steaming toward the slot. Morris' shot/pass allowed Doan to deflect the puck up and over Quick at 16:47 to double the lead.
“Mo saw me going to the net and put it right on my stick,” Doan said.
The Coyotes capitalized on their first power-play chance early in the second period thanks to another pretty move by Boedker. He twirled a Keith Yandle pass across the slot, went around Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi and beat Quick by flipping a shot to the top corner at 3:37 for the third two-goal game of his career.
Boedker had a chance at his first career hat trick several minutes later, but Quick made a nice save on his bid from in close. But Phoenix made it 4-0 when Torres charged into the crease and cleaned up a Doan rebound at 12:33.
The Coyotes and Kings will meet twice more next week when they play on back-to-back nights at Staples Center.
“The next 10 days are going to be pretty important for this group considering how many divisional games we play,” Brown said. “This is where you can really separate yourselves from the rest of the pack.”
FIVE FOR PHOENIX
1. Forward Rob Klinkhammer has scored two goals in his past two games after starting his NHL career by scoring zero goals in his first 16 games with Chicago and Ottawa. He also led the team with six hits vs. the Kings.
2. Goalie Mike Smith played his 250th NHL game and marked the occasion by stopping 31 of 33 shots. Smith is 116-91-31 in his NHL career.
4. The Coyotes played minus defenseman Zbynek Michalek (lower-body injury) and center Matthew Lombardi (upper-body injury). Both are considered day-to-day.
5. Phoenix wore its road white sweaters for this game because the Kings asked if they could wear their retro black sweaters and the Coyotes obliged.