Reporting from Glendale, Ariz. -- The Kings’ offense stirred Tuesday night for the first time in a while, but their turnovers and mistakes cost them a chance to win a crucial game in regulation and prevent a conference rival from earning a point.
The Kings have won only one of their last six games but the point allowed them to pass Calgary and jump into eighth in the West.
Kings winger Kyle Clifford was ejected with 6 minutes 13 seconds left in the third period after delivering a questionable hit that caught Gilbert Brule in the head and left the Coyotes forward dazed. Clifford got a major penalty and game misconduct; the Kings were short a man for five minutes and the Coyotes for two because Keith Yandle was given a roughing penalty.
Drew Doughty’s 40-foot shot past Smith at 6:18 of the first period, set up on some gritty work by Dwight King and Brown, ended the Kings’ scoreless streak at 126 minutes and 21 seconds over four games. They had scored their previous goal into an empty net with three seconds left against Dallas before being blanked by Phoenix and Calgary.
Before the period ended the Kings scored twice more, their most productive first period this season and the first time this season they had led by more than one goal after the first period. Laugh or cry at that, as you choose.
Andrei Loktionov, centering for Clifford and Trevor Lewis, came out from behind the net and slipped the puck past Smith to the short side from a sharp angle at 12:32. And Brown, called out by Coach Darryl Sutter earlier this week as a key player who had to elevate his game, deflected a shot by Willie Mitchell past Smith at 14:44 for his first goal in 12 games. The goal was reviewed to see if Brown had been holding his stick above the height of the crossbar and it was allowed to stand.
The Coyotes capitalized on two power plays to cut their deficit to one early in the second period. With Quick standing by the left post, Vrbata tapped a pass from Martin Hanzal into the open right side of the net at the 50-second mark. After Matt Greene broke up a two-on-one and was sent off for tripping, Shane Doan took a pass from Hanzal and scored from deep on the left side at 5:26.
The Kings re-established a two-goal cushion at 11:51 during a power play. Anze Kopitar, also called out by Sutter, dug the puck out behind the net and threw it in front to Justin Williams, who scored from the doorstep. Kopitar and Mike Richards got the assists.
Phoenix pulled within a goal again at 17:07. A turnover by winger Clifford high in the Kings’ defensive zone gave the Coyotes possession of the puck, allowing Lauri Korpikoski to take a 30-foot shot. Quick saved that but the rebound was batted by Hanzal before Doan swatted it past Quick.