Kings can’t overcome second-period surge by Arizona Coyotes in loss
Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz scored power-play goals in the second period, and Antti Raanta made 40 saves in the Arizona Coyotes’ 3-2 victory over the Kings on Wednesday night.
Johan Larsson scored 13 seconds after Schmaltz’s goal, and the Coyotes snapped a two-game skid by hanging on in the final minute of their only road game in a 27-day span.
“They’re a tough team to play against,” said Schmaltz, whose goal was his first since Feb. 13. “They have that 1-3-1 neutral zone. It’s not the most exciting hockey, but we knew we had to just take what was given, get it in behind them and create offense below their hash marks. Also, the power play stepped up for us.”
Drew Doughty scored a power-play goal and Jonathan Quick stopped 20 shots for the Kings, who couldn’t recover from a terrible 3 1/2-minute stretch of the second period. Gabriel Vilardi added a goal in the third, but the Kings took a late penalty and couldn’t get a last-ditch equalizer.
Matt Dumba scores in the final second of overtime to lift Minnesota to a 4-3 win over a Kings team that has struggled all season against the Wild.
“I thought we didn’t play too bad,” Vilardi said. “I mean, you look at the shots, you think, wow, we were all over them. And then, obviously, there’s that 13-second span.”
Los Angeles returned home from a successful six-game road trip and failed to earn a point for only the second time in 10 games. The Kings have lost three straight after a six-game winning streak.
“Obviously our penalty kill let us down tonight,” coach Todd MacLellan said. “We made two critical mistakes, and they capitalized on the mistakes that we saw last year in our penalty kill. We think we’ve corrected them, and they’re creeping back in, so we’ve got work to do there.“
After opening the game with 29 scoreless minutes, the teams combined for four goals in a frantic 3:27.
Arizona opened the scoring when Jordan Oesterle threaded a cross-ice pass through three Kings sticks to Keller, who banked his seventh goal of the season off the near post.
Doughty tied it 93 seconds later with a rising shot through traffic for his fourth power-play goal of the season, tops among NHL defensemen. The 2016 Norris Trophy winner has goals in back-to-back games for the first time since the first two games of the 2019-20 season.
Schmaltz put the Coyotes back ahead 1:41 later with a quick shot on another power play, and Larsson capitalized on a turnover moments later for his third goal.
Highlights from the Kings’ 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at Staples Center on Wednesday.
“We lost the game in the second (period),” Doughty said. “The two (penalty-kill) goals are both preventable. I thought we were sloppy in the second. We weren’t connecting on passes.”
Raanta bounced back impressively from giving up five goals in the Coyotes’ 6-2 loss to Colorado last weekend. The Finnish goalie hadn’t played in back-to-back games since Jan. 14-16 in Arizona’s first two games of the season, and had appeared in just five games all season before excelling against the Kings.
“The Saturday game was a really tough one for me, and you just try to forget it,” Raanta said. “The situation was still kind of in my head, so I was trying to keep it super simple at the start. I was able to get a couple of saves, and after the first period I was able to feel good. Not the best feeling to go into the game. You want to give your team a chance to win, and lately I haven’t done that very often.”
Doughty’s power-play goal was the 63rd of his career, which began in 2008. Only Montreal’s Shea Weber (91) has more man-advantage goals among NHL defensemen during that nearly 13-year span.
Kings host the St. Louis Blues on Friday.
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