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game recap

Coyotes spoil Kings opener with 6-3 win

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

NHL.com

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Coyotes spoil Kings opener with 6-3 win
Phoenix Coyotes 6, Los Angeles Kings 3
LOS ANGELES -- The Phoenix Coyotes' off-ice situation didn't stop them from spoiling opening night for the Los Angeles Kings

Radim Vrbata returned to the Coyotes and scored twice as the Coyotes jumped to a 2-0 lead and never looked back on the way to a 6-3 victory over the Kings on Saturday night. Matthew Lombardi, Daniel Winnik, Scottie Upshall and Robert Lang also scored for the Coyotes, a franchise that spent the summer in bankruptcy court.

It was a successful debut for new coach Dave Tippett, who got the job when Wayne Gretzky stepped down during training camp -- days before a U,S, Bankruptcy Court judge rejected two offers to buy the team.

 “It’s just one game,” Tippett said. “Tonight it’s a good feeling for those players, but the thing about this league is you have to step up for the next one.”

The Kings were their own worst enemy -- four of the Coyotes' goals came off turnovers.

"Clearly that’s out of character for us," Los Angeles coach Terry Murray said. "We turned it over a few times. It’s not like we had breakaways or breakdowns in our system … it’s something we’ve got to work on."

Phoenix struck first just 5:31 into the game with a power-play goal when a wide-open Vrbata, who came back to the Coyotes after signing with Tampa Bay and then playing in Europe last season, took a pass from Ed Jovanovski and fired a shot past Jonathan Quick's stick.

“The first goal gave me confidence and we played well overall,” Vrbata said. “I’m just glad I could help. And if we’re going to play like this (every game), we can surprise a lot of people.”

Lombardi made it 2-0 at 17:48, and Winnik's tip of Zbynek Michalek's shot 8:22 into the second period gave the Coyotes a three-goal lead.

The Kings finally gave the sellout crowd something to cheer about when Anze Kopitar hacked a puck past Ilya Bryzgalov for a power-play goal at 10:37.

But Vrbata's second goal of the game, off a feed from Petr Prucha following a turnover, made it 4-1 at 14:08.

Alexander Frolov's power-play goal in the final minute of the second period again cut the margin to two goals, but third-period goals by Upshall and Lang put the game out of reach.

“I don’t think we were surprised at all,” Upshall said of the offensive output. “It was a big day. I’m glad to chip in. I like our speed, we got offense and defense up and down the lineup.”

Drew Doughty added a window-dressing power-play goal with 8:04 remaining.

Bryzgalov finished with 30 saves as the Coyotes improved to 5-1 in their last six season-openers.

"We didn’t pass the puck, the puck was bouncing all over the place," Kopitar said. "Maybe it was a lack of concentration or something. We have to bear down on the (chances) we got."

-- Bruce Bourquin, NHL.com Correspondent
scoring summary
1st Period
05:31
PHX
PPG - Radim Vrbata (1) ASST: Ed Jovanovski (1)
1 - 0 PHX
17:48
PHX
Matthew Lombardi (1) ASST: Peter Mueller (1), Jim Vandermeer (1)
2 - 0 PHX
2nd Period
08:22
PHX
Daniel Winnik (1) ASST: Zbynek Michalek (1), Vernon Fiddler (1)
3 - 0 PHX
10:37
LAK
PPG - Anze Kopitar (1) ASST: Ryan Smyth (1), Dustin Brown (1)
3 - 1 PHX
14:08
PHX
Radim Vrbata (2) ASST: Petr Prucha (1)
4 - 1 PHX
19:17
LAK
PPG - Alex Frolov (1) ASST: Jarret Stoll (1), Drew Doughty (1)
4 - 2 PHX
3rd Period
00:31
PHX
Scottie Upshall (1) ASST: NONE
5 - 2 PHX
08:25
PHX
Robert Lang (1) ASST: NONE
6 - 2 PHX
11:56
LAK
PPG - Drew Doughty (1) ASST: Anze Kopitar (1), Ryan Smyth (2)
6 - 3 PHX
penalty summary
1st Period
04:19
LAK
Drew Doughty  Holding against  Martin Hanzal
09:01
PHX
Peter Mueller  Holding against  Davis Drewiske
2nd Period
05:27
LAK
Drew Doughty  Hooking against  Mikkel Boedker
09:05
PHX
Scottie Upshall  Slashing against  Dustin Brown
18:18
LAK
Jack Johnson  Roughing against  Scottie Upshall
18:18
PHX
Scottie Upshall  Roughing against  Jack Johnson
18:55
PHX
Keith Yandle  Holding against  Anze Kopitar
3rd Period
09:09
LAK
Ryan Smyth  Hi-sticking against  Lauri Korpikoski
11:10
PHX
Scottie Upshall  Holding against  Davis Drewiske
goalie stats
Ilya Bryzgalov
SA: 33TOI: 60:00
Saves: 30EV: 24 - 24
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 8
SV%: .909SH: 1 - 1
Jonathan Quick
SA: 30TOI: 59:48
Saves: 24EV: 20 - 25
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 4
SV%: .800SH: 1 - 1