History meant nothing to the Kings on Thursday, except for the lasting feat their backup goalie is compiling.
As his team ended a five-game losing streak to the Arizona Coyotes and humbled troublesome opposing goalie Mike Smith in a 4-0 victory, Kings goaltender Martin Jones produced his second consecutive shutout.
And with six shutouts in 26 career games, Jones is one of just four in NHL history to blank so many opponents in such a short span. Former Columbus goalie Steve Mason had six shutouts in a record 24 games in 2009.
“We did a good job of eliminating the top, grade-A scoring chances and I was able to see a lot of pucks I expect myself to stop,” Jones said. “I try not to look at shutouts — more the process than anything else.”
The Kings (14-7-5) were locked in on the process that propelled them to last season’s Stanley Cup, limiting the Coyotes to 26 shots by delivering 47 hits, 10 by defenseman Robyn Regehr, to post their third shutout in four games.
Jones hasn’t allowed a goal in 146 minutes 1 second.
Meanwhile, Kings forward Dustin Brown twice scored goals on Smith, the Kings’ nemesis who beat them twice last year and was 11-4-1 with two shutouts against them overall.
When Brown assisted Jarret Stoll’s second-period goal, Smith was yanked and the Kings’ first win at Gila River Arena since Jan. 26, 2013, was all but sealed.
“Last year or the year before really has no bearing on anything,” Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said when asked about his team’s previous Coyotes problem.
“If you’re only looking at records or numbers or buildings or how you’ve done against an opponent, you might never win again. It’s not based on that. There’s so much more to a game than head-to-head stuff.”
The Kings spent the second period rubbing the Coyotes’ noses in the difference between where Arizona (10-14-3) stands and how a defending Stanley Cup champion can play.
Arizona started the period down only one goal, and tried to beat Jones on a shot through traffic, a wraparound try and a power play.
It didn’t happen.
Brown followed by sailing to the Arizona side and rifling a shot high to Smith’s right side for a 2-0 lead.
“We’ve been struggling on the road this year [now 3-4-4], it was about trying to find consistency in our game, regardless of who we’re playing,” Brown said. “Now, we have two back-to-back shutout road victories. That’s something to build on.”
The Kings spent extended time on the Coyotes’ side for the next six minutes after Brown’s second goal too.
Defenseman Alec Martinez shot from long distance with Stoll deflecting in a power-play goal, forcing Smith to exit with 4:19 left in the second.
The Coyotes lost their sixth straight home game for the first time since Wayne Gretzky coached them in 2009, and have been blanked at home for 172:23.
Martinez, who scored the final goal on another deep power-play blast a day after signing a six-year, $24-million contract extension, also blocked four shots.
“We’re playing a better team game, following our structure, making better team decisions,” Martinez said. “There’s a lot of work to be done, but we can tap into that experience of doing things the right way. Being in the right spots at the right times, more often than not, you’re going to be successful.”