LOS ANGELES (AP) — Adrian Aucoin scored in the fourth round of the shootout, and the Phoenix Coyotes overcame a two-goal deficit in the final minutes of regulation to beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Thursday night.
Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson scored in regulation for the Kings before Matthew Lombardi and Taylor Pyatt scored 1:24 apart to tie it with 5:53 left for the Coyotes, who already locked themselves into the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference playoffs one night earlier. The surprising Coyotes secured the first 50-win season in franchise history while extending the club record with their 106th point.
Anze Kopitar scored in the shootout's first round, but Radim Vrbata tied it on Phoenix's last chance in the third. After Jarret Stoll missed, Aucoin beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who failed in his seventh straight attempt to earn his franchise-record 40th victory of the season.
Jason LaBarbera stopped 22 shots for the Coyotes, who snapped a four-game road losing streak while resting a handful of regulars, including starting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
Both Phoenix and Los Angeles are headed back to the postseason for the first time since 2002 — and if the Kings recover from this stunning loss to finish strong, the Pacific Division's usual also-rans will face each other.
With their third straight shootout game, the Kings still moved into a tie with Detroit and Nashville for fifth place in the West playoff standings with 98 points. Los Angeles can guarantee a first-round rematch with Phoenix by beating Edmonton and Colorado in the final weekend of the regular season, but the Kings wasted a chance to tie a franchise record with their 46th victory.
The Coyotes clinched fourth place by beating Nashville one night earlier, and they rested forward Petr Prucha and defensemen Ed Jovanovski and Sami Lepisto against the Kings. The absences created rare playing opportunities for enforcer Paul Bissonnette, who hadn't played since getting just over 2 minutes of action on March 14, and veteran defenseman Mathieu Schneider, acquired from Vancouver last month.
After Doughty opened the scoring midway through the second period with a spectacular breakaway goal, Quick and the Kings seemed firmly in control before Lombardi's goal halved their lead. Pyatt then deflected home Zbynek Michalek's shot from the point with 5:53 left, stunning the sellout Staples Center crowd.
Quick already has the winningest season for a goalie in Kings history, and he tied Felix Potvin's team record with his 71st appearance against the Coyotes. His play has been a major factor in Los Angeles' playoff return, yet he's catching far too much unpleasant attention lately as a possible weak link.
Quick hasn't won in seven appearances since March 22, getting pulled twice — including Tuesday night in Anaheim, where he allowed three goals on eight shots before the Kings rallied for a 5-4 shootout win. Coach Terry Murray has stood behind Quick, insisting the goalie would regain his form in time for the postseason.
NOTES: Kings C Jeff Halpern was a healthy scratch after missing a week with an upper-body injury. Halpern was blindsided into the boards by Vancouver's Tanner Glass last week. ... Bissonnette leads the Coyotes in penalty minutes despite playing in just 41 games. He fought Los Angeles enforcer Raitis Ivanans in the second period. ... Kopitar, the Kings' leading scorer with 80 points, set a career high with his 46th assist on Doughty's goal.