Published November 20, 2014
Justin Williams scored his 18th goal to start an opening flurry and Jarret Stoll added a goal with a sprawling shot in the third period to give the Los Angeles Kings a 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.
Frustrated by what they felt was a bad call in a game against Phoenix two nights earlier, the Kings seemed to have an extra jump early, getting first-period goals from Williams, Drew Doughty and Alec Martinez.
Phoenix, playing without top defensemen Ed Jovanovski and Derek Morris, rallied from a sluggish start with Lee Stempniak's two goals and another by Martin Hanzal to tie it heading into the third.
Stoll scored 5 minutes into the third on a diving backhander, and the Kings held on to end a three-game losing streak.
The Kings were still bitter after feeling they were shortchanged on a high-sticking call on Thursday.
That play came in the second period, when a goal by Hanzal was upheld by NHL officials despite replays appearing to show his stick above the crossbar. The Kings were furious at the call, and general manager Dean Lombardi was still peeved after the 2-0 loss, drawing a $50,000 fine for questioning the integrity of league vice president Mike Murphy on the call.
The Kings' problems run much deeper than one call, though.
Once atop the Western Conference, Los Angeles has tumbled down the standings as the pucks have steered away from the net. The Kings came into Saturday's game with two goals in their previous three games, including the shutout on Thursday when they sent 36 shots at Phoenix's Ilya Bryzgalov.
The Kings seemed to be catching the Coyotes at a good time.
Despite winning seven of their previous 10 games, the Coyotes were a tired bunch, getting consecutive days off just once since Christmas and playing four games in six days this week. Phoenix also was without Jovanovski for the fifth straight game due to a lower-body injury. Morris sustained a similar injury against the Kings on Thursday.
Los Angeles took advantage early, hassling Phoenix into numerous turnovers in its end. The pressure led to a goal just 1:22 in, when Williams turned a blue-line cough-up by rookie defenseman Chris Summers into a two-on-none, give-and-go goal with Ryan Smyth.
Doughty added another before the midpoint of the first period, ripping a shot from top of the left circle through traffic. Martinez made it 3-0 with a shot from the opposite circle that Bryzgalov didn't react to in time.
Phoenix got something right late in the period, when a long shot by Taylor Pyatt caromed off teammate Stempniak and past goalie Jonathan Quick.
The bounce seemed to energize the Coyotes, who pulled within 3-2 early in the second when Hanzal took a pass from Keith Yandle in front of the crease, then backhanded it — no high stick this time — past Quick on a power play. Stempniak got the Coyotes all the way back in the closing minutes, whipping a wrister past Quick's glove side after a drop pass from Pyatt for his fifth goal in five games.
Notes: Los Angeles ended a five-game losing streak to Phoenix. ... The Coyotes didn't get their first shot on goal until nearly 8½ minutes into the game. ... Phoenix C Shane Doan went out after a hard fall into the boards in the third period, but returned.