Kings take big lead, blow it, then defeat Coyotes in a shootout
Kevin Fiala had two goals and an assist and the Kings held on to beat the Arizona Coyotes 6-5 in a shootout Saturday night.
Anze Kopitar, Blake Lizotte and Matt Roy each had a goal and an assist during a five-goal outburst in the first period, but the Kings had to recover after squandering a four-goal lead to win their fourth straight game.
“It’s obviously a big trap when you take a lead by that much,” Kings center Phillip Danault said. “We got caught again, but big character win.”
Jonathan Quick made 27 saves, getting his 369th career victory to tie Tom Barrasso for third-most by American goaltenders.
Pheonix Copley is tossed from the game after getting into a big fight and Viktor Arvidsson scores two goals in the Kings’ 6-3 win over the Ducks.
Clayton Keller had two goals for Arizona, and Josh Brown, Travis Boyd and Christian Fischer also scored. The Coyotes picked up at least a point for the eighth straight game, their longest streak since a 11-0-1 stretch in February 2012.
Karel Vejmelka was replaced late in the first after allowing five goals on 14 shots. Connor Ingram made 23 saves in relief.
“I think that was a big wake-up call for our team,” Fischer said. “If we’re not on top of the puck, aggressive, playing the way we have to, we’ll get embarrassed just like we did.”
The Kings have scored at least five goals in four consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 1-8, 1992, and it didn’t take long for their offensive firepower to shine yet again.
Los Angeles had five goals in 7:48 span in the first period. Fiala bookended the spree with his 20th and 21st goals. He opened the scoring on a power play and made it 5-1 with 4:12 remaining in the period.
“This lead tonight happened fast,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “It happened, bang, bang, bang, one after another. And then from that point on, we got extremely casual.“
The Coyotes took advantage of that relaxed attitude to fight back, starting when Keller scored during a 5-on-3 power play late in the second period. He made it 5-3 37 seconds into the third.
Boyd scored two seconds after an Arizona power play expired at 7:06, and Fischer tied it at 5 44 seconds later.
Kings general manager has two weeks to decide if he wants to make additions to a team that is chasing a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The contrasting emotions on how the final 40 minutes of regulation played out were apparent in the reaction from the opposing benches. McLellan pointed out that “championship quality or caliber teams don’t do that” with such a substantial lead, while his Coyotes counterpart Andre Tourigny was pleased by the response.
“That’s who we are,” Tourigny said. “At the end of the day, that’s a good thing because we take a lot of pride in being that competitive and working that hard. . The boys really dig in and found a way.”
Gabe Vilardi and Adrian Kempe scored in the shootout, and Quick saved Nick Schmaltz’s attempt by waiting him out before using his stick to knock the puck away. Nick Bjugstad put his try wide of the net and off the boards with a chance to extend it to the third round.
“That was an incredible save,” McLellan said. “He’s a competitive guy and just when you think you have him beat, something pops out, whether it’s a leg, a glove, a stick.”
McLellan had been critical of his team for similar slippage in their game during a 5-2 win against Buffalo on Monday, including taking unnecessary penalties. In this instance, it was simultaneous whistles against defenseman Mikey Anderson for hooking and forward Viktor Arvidsson for tripping that allowed Arizona back into the contest.
“Even when you’re winning, you’re trying to fix things,“ McLellan said.
The Kings hadn’t scored five goals in the first period since Nov. 13, 2005, in an 8-2 victory over Columbus. Kings F Trevor Moore briefly came out of the game in the third period, but McLellan said he was fine.
Up next for the Kings: At Minnesota on Tuesday night.
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