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What we learned from the Kings' 2-1 win over the Coyotes

What we learned from the Kings' 2-1 win over the Coyotes
Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick stops the shot of Coyotes right wing Josh Archibald on Dec. 27. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

What do four straight wins get the Kings? Not much in the standings.

They’re still in last place in the Western Conference with 33 points, but there are slivers of hope with their fourth straight win, 2-1, against the Arizona Coyotes at Staples Center.

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After they scored at least three goals in four previous games, the Kings took a page from their defensive past and eked out a low-scoring contest spiked by animosity.

Here’s what we learned:

Kings won without their best game

That’s often a true sign of a successful team. The Kings were beaten in the face-off circle and committed 10 giveaways. They were outplayed for much of the second period as the game settled into the expected matchup between the low-scoring two teams at the bottom of the Pacific Division.

“Today looked like a game after Christmas,” coach Willie Desjardins said. “It wasn’t our best game and certainly probably wasn’t [Arizona’s], either. You know, I think we can play better. We had a good first period and then we fell off a little bit. If we want to keep sustaining, we’ll have to play better than we did tonight, for sure.”

Quick moved closer to history

Quick recorded his 298th career win and is close to becoming the second American-born goaltender to win 300 games in fewer than 600 appearances, according to the NHL.

It was a typical modern-day Quick game. He allowed one goal he probably shouldn’t have, to Jakob Chychrun, and made up for it with clutch saves late, notably twice on Clayton Keller.

Quick said postgame that he likes what he sees from his perspective during this streak.

“I think we’ve been playing great in our end,” Quick said. “These past few weeks we’ve been doing a good job of taking away their chances and I think it kind of frustrates teams a little bit and makes them make some mistakes, and we can create chances on the other end because of it.”

Oscar Fantenberg quietly filling out defense

Fantenberg logged six blocked shots in more than 14 minutes of playing time and continued to show his versatility by jumping into the play on occasion.

He had two chances early in the game, including a nifty saucer pass setup from Brendan Leipsic. The team would love to see Fantenberg get on the scoresheet more often. He has one assist in 26 games. But Fantenberg has earned his stay in the third pairing, while Alec Martinez and Dion Phaneuf remain injured, which is a good sign for his development.

Said Desjardins of Fantenberg, “He gives us some flexibility … he can move the puck well. He can defend well. He gives you a little bit of everything.”

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