Martin Jones got his second straight shutout, the Los Angeles Kings' third in the last four games. And he wasn't the story tonight!
The story? Dustin Brown. Here are five reasons you should have expected tonight's offensive outburst:
- There was a picture of Brown for the gamethread
- Prior to the Boston/Chicago homestand, Brown had five points in five games against weak competition
- Mike Smith had a .891 save percentage on the season entering this game
- Dustin Brown
- really irritates
- Coyotes fans.
Surprisingly, Brown only had 23 points in 69 career games in the Coyotes before last night, so his offense against Arizona hasn't caught up with his reputation yet. Last night, though, Brown scored on both of his shots on goal, and he helped salvage a pretty slow start for the team on the road. The Kings spent the first ten minutes struggling to mount any sort of offensive attack, and the Coyotes get some credit for the neutral zone pressure they applied. It backfired about nine minutes in, though, when Kyle Chipchura made a lazy pass back toward his own zone. Brown swept in and picked it off to give himself a breakaway chance, which he converted past Smith.
Interesting trend, at least after the first couple goals tonight: LA picked up their play considerably immediately after finding the net. This occurred after Brown's first goal but was most pronounced after Brown's second goal. The Coyotes were perhaps unlucky to be tied, with Sam Gagner hitting the crossbar near the end of the first, Martin Jones making a terrific save on Mikkel Boedker, and the Kings being forced to kill off two penalties to Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez. LA weathered the pressure, though, and got themselves a rush after a save by Jones on Nate MacMillan. It couldn't even be considered an odd-man rush, as when Brown carried it in, three Coyotes defenders had gotten back; it didn't matter, as Brown snapped a quick shot past Smith.
The Kings' strong follow-up play essentially sealed the game for them. Arizona barely got a sniff at the other end in the next five minutes, and when Chipchura (banner night for him) high-sticked Jordan Nolan, LA cashed in a third goal. Jarret Stoll got a stick on Alec Martinez's point shot, and it trickled by Smith. Smith got pulled, Brown picked up an assist for his third point of the night, LA got a three-goal lead, and the Coyotes basically threw up their hands. Martinez eventually got a goal for himself to celebrate his new contract, blasting a power play goal past Devan Dubnyk to provide the final margin.
Smith wasn't the only Coyote to experience struggles against a team he'd had success against in the past:
You can thank Martin Jones for the rest of that. Jones was rock-solid in the Kings' net to earn his second consecutive shutout, and with Quick's shutout against Boston still fresh in our minds, it's been quite the stretch of goaltending for LA. The Kings did their part to back Jones, getting nineteen shots on goal in the final period to make sure that Jones didn't have to deal with the usual late-game barrage that leading teams get. It's a comprehensive win, and for a team that has gotten demolished on the road so far this year, it was a really nice change of pace.