It was a triumphant evening for the road rosters in Tuesday night's annual split-squad exhibition set between the Coyotes and the Los Angeles Kings; Arizona falling short in a 4-1 loss at Gila River Arena and winning convincingly by a 5-0 count at Staples Center.
When asked for his takeaways from the home portion of the two games, head coach Rick Tocchet, who led the bench at Gila River Arena alongside new assistant coach Phil Housley and Roadrunners assistant coach John Slaney, said jokingly:
"I think we're up 5-0 in LA right now, so that makes it 6-4. We win."
After all, it is the preseason, and early in it. A little lighthearted humor is refreshing.
Derek Stepan buried the lone goal for the Coyotes on home ice, collecting a Phil Kessel pass and firing high to the glove side to beat Los Angeles' Jack Campbell from the top of the left circle early in the second period.
Said Stepan following the exhibition loss: "We got some reps in, but there's a lot of work ahead of us. Obviously it's early in training camp, but there's still a lot more [preseason] games to be played. We've got to keep getting those reps in, the work in. We've got ourselves some work ahead of us."
400 miles west, the Coyotes' road lineup handled the Kings satisfyingly. Clayton Keller opened the scoring for Arizona just 18 seconds in, followed up by goals from Conor Garland -- who finished the night with two -- Christian Dvorak , and Jordan Gross.
Garland (2G, 1A) and Dvorak (1G, 2A) concluded the night with three points each, while Keller (1G, 1A) and Gross (1G, 1A) finished with multi-point performances.
The Coyotes' road bench was led by assistant coach John MacLean, Roadrunners head coach Jay Varady, and Roadrunners assistant coach Steve Potvin.
Darcy Kuemper (16/16 - 40:00) and Adin Hill (10/10 - 20:00) combined for the shutout.
The Coyotes will play the fourth of their seven scheduled preseason games on Saturday night at Gila River Arena, when they host the Anaheim Ducks at 6:00 p.m.
*Photos courtesy: Norm Hall and Adam Pantozzi