Fox Sports West has a new feature on their scoreboard graphic this season. Next to each team's goal count, the number of shots is also visible. Most nights, that total is going to be very complimentary to the Los Angeles Kings, but tonight, it made it hard to ignore LA's struggles. The Arizona Coyotes controlled this game, and though the Kings took a point on the back of their explosive second line, the Coyotes deserved their eventual overtime winner.
LA was set up well to take a win back from the Gila River Arena after Tanner Pearson got the Kings on the board less than two minutes in. With the other lines shuffled by Darryl Sutter (more on that later), the one line that stayed together applied a bunch of pressure to the Coyotes in their own zone. Lauri Korpikoski was bothered enough that he ran into Keith Yandle and gave the puck up to Pearson, who quickly beat Devan Dubnyk up high. The Kings played well for a couple minutes after that, but then a switch flipped, and the Coyotes took over. Jonathan Quick had to be very sharp in the first and he was, making a vintage post-to-post save on Korpikoski and keeping the Kings on top.
The Kings' second goal came after a long run of Coyotes pressure, and was thanks to contributions from Slava Voynov and Tyler Toffoli. Voynov recovered the puck along the boards in his own zone and chipped it ahead into the offensive zone, and Tyler Toffoli was just fast enough to keep Michael Stone from clearing it out past the blue line. Instead, Stone's whack at the puck only got it as far as a trailing Jeff Carter, who had a clear lane to take a wrist shot. Dubnyk probably could have done better, but given that it was Carter's wrist shot, maybe we should give him credit for even getting a piece of it on its way into the net. Carter got a breakaway chance on a beautiful lead pass near the end of the first, but Dubnyk sprawled forward to break up Carter's attempt.
The Coyotes would have been very unlucky to be down two after the first period, but after a Pearson hooking penalty, they managed to get one back. Big assist to Matt Greene, whose clearing attempt was straight at Keith Yandle; Yandle knocked it down and immediately took a shot which was deflected in by Antoine Vermette. It was the start of a terrific evening for Yandle, and the start of an inevitable comeback by the Coyotes. Arizona followed up their good first period with an even better second period, outshooting LA 14-3 and getting the game-tying goal from Mikkel Boedker. A sloppy line change meant trouble when Dustin Brown lost the puck at the blue line, and Yandle's pass sprung Boedker on a successful breakaway.
Both goalies were perfect for the remainder of regulation. The same could not be said for the Kings' first and third lines (and yes, Darryl, I know we're not supposed to call them that). Jarret Stoll, Dwight King, and Dustin Brown combined for just two shots all game; they started the majority of their shifts in the defensive zone, so they might have a minor excuse. I'm not sure I saw Anze Kopitar attempt a shot, as he and Marian Gaborik struggled to find each other on offense. In spite of all that, the lone member of the second line without a goal nearly stole the two points late. Dwight King's perfectly weighted pass gave Tyler Toffoli room for a one-on-one with Dubynk, but his attempt to go "tweeners" was denied.
The Coyotes had a close call of their own late in regulation. Shane Doan knocked in a loose puck in the crease with three minutes left, but he did it after shoving Jeff Carter into Jonathan Quick. No goal, and after Toffoli's break was stopped, we went to overtime. Toffoli was in the middle of things in OT, as he missed an open net on a rebound before taking a (necessary) hooking penalty on Martin Hanzal at 3:41 of OT. LA needed to kill the 4-on-3 for 1:19 to get to the shootout, but Stoll, Greene, and Robyn Regehr couldn't quite pull it off. Regehr broke up a couple of dangerous plays, but Greene failed on an easy clearing attempt with 45 seconds left and the Coyotes eventually took advantage. Oliver Ekman-Larsson beat Quick (who was screened by Greene and Doan) with a clean wrist shot and Arizona took home two points.
We'll get back to you after Sunday's game vs. Winnipeg as to whether there's more to worry about here. Regardless, it was a lackluster effort by most of the Kings.