Jarret Stoll got his first goal, and Ben Scrivens looked good in goal for the Los Angeles Kings. Unfortunately, the Phoenix Coyotes got more goals, and Mike Smith looked better. ("Nice lede, Eric.") ("Thanks.")
The goalies got plenty of work early on. Mike Smith made a save on a pinching Willie Mitchell; it happens once every few games or so, but a better-placed slapshot might have led to a surprise opening goal. Then, #29 (later identified as someone named Jordan Szwarz) got a point-blank slapper stopped by the pad of Ben Scrivens. Early on, the Kings seemed to focus on crashing the net and throwing off Mike Smith, while Phoenix relied mostly on creating shots with puck movement. These strategies went out the window though, as the officials called an astounding ten minor penalties in the first period. Check out the following sequence:
|15:23||PHX||R. Klinkhammer - Hi-sticking against D. Doughty|
||J. Williams - Roughing against R. Klinkhammer|
|15:23||PHX||R. Klinkhammer - Roughing against J. Williams|
|15:51||LAK||J. Muzzin - Tripping against D. Moss|
|15:53||LAK||J. Stoll - Delay Gm - Face-off Violation|
Hockey! (assisted by some Doughty embellishment)
Phoenix would pick up 16 shots to the Kings' 9, but Scrivens stopped everything in place of normal starter Jonathan Quick. Darryl Sutter was clearly planning so Quick would get the Sharks, and if the offense had managed to find some goals, it would have looked like an even better move. Scrivens did his best work on the power plays, and he got an assist from the refs who waved off a potential Coyotes goal at 13:39 of the first. Antoine Vermette shoved Drew Doughty into Ben Scrivens, and the shot by Oliver Ekman-Larsson traveled high into the net as Scrivens and Doughty went down.
Scrivens continued to make stops during the second, but Mike Smith took over the brunt of the work and also wasn't about to allow anything. His glove stop on a partial Trevor Lewis breakaway early on was his best; poor Lewis can't buy a goal, can he? But his best spell came late in the second period, a couple minutes after Shane Doan hit the goalpost. Eleven attempted shots and seven shots on goal for LA in a three-minute span, which finally ended when Phoenix iced the puck, called timeout, and won a faceoff. No goals, thanks to Smith.
As we all expected, Phoenix broke the deadlock immediately after all of this. And it was the flukiest of goals; think of those McDonald's H-O-R-S-E commercials, if you used the various body parts of Robyn Regehr, Drew Doughty, and Ben Scrivens instead. The Regehr angst was pretty high after that Derek Morris goal, but it started with Mike Richards unable to clear the puck. Then again, Slava Voynov and Willie Mitchell couldn't do much better on the Coyotes' next goal. Justin Williams gave Phoenix a power play opportunity before the period ended, and Shane Doan was able to position himself between our defensemen and in front of Scrivens to score on a tip-in. Nice tip, but no pressure on Doan from anyone on the PK. Oh, and that was with six seconds to go in the period. 2-0 lead. That's what they call a back-breaker.
The game was put out of reach in the third, as recent call-up and Hobey Baker Award winner Andy Miele picked up his second point of the game on a secondary assist after stealing the puck. The primary went to David Moss, who threw the puck to the front past Robyn Regehr, and Kyle Chipchura got enough of his skate on it to get it past Ben Scrivens. Jarret Stoll finally got himself on the board with a late power play goal, providing a bright side for LA fans who reeeeeeeally didn't want to see a Mike Smith shutout. Then again, Smith stopped the other 41, so the celebrations were hollow... to say the least. The Kings won seven of nine before this one, but a loss against San Jose tonight will put everyone right back in panic mode, doesn't it? LA will probably need their best effort of the season to win, and yes, that includes scoring goals.