The finale of this two-game series between the teams’ rookies will be played Thursday at 2 p.m. Fans can watch the game live at phoenixcoyotes.com.
The Coyotes played with a pack mentality on Wednesday night, and they did not lose their composure when the Kings set a physical tone in the first period.
“They’re a big and strong team and they brought some toughness into their lineup,” said Greg Ireland, who is coaching the Coyotes rookies this week. “I really thought that our team sent the message that if you go after one of us, you go after five of us. Eventually, teams get sick of competing against that.”
|Kevin Porter (Photo courtesy of LA Kings). |
There were multiple heroes for Phoenix on Wednesday starting with Gistedt. The Swedish goalie stopped 26 of 27 shots.
“I really thought Joel was our heartbeat tonight,” Ireland said. “He really tracked the puck well with his eyes and he was really composed and gave us good leadership in the net.”Brett MacLean
scored two goals to lead Phoenix’s offense. His second goal gave the Coyotes a 5-1 lead early in the third period and dealt a crucial blow to the Kings, who seemed more interested in fighting the Coyotes than skating with them.
“We came out strong,” MacLean said. “We had a gameplan and stuck to it. They were running around and we didn’t falter from that, and we just kept playing the way we were supposed to play and it worked out for us.”
The Coyotes built a 2-0 lead in the first period while outshooting the Kings 17-5.
Coyotes forward Jared Staal delivered a hard check on Kings defenseman Thomas Hickey with 15:46 left in the first period. Kings defenseman Colten Teubert took exception to the hit and went after Staal. They fought, but Teubert was given an instigator penalty and a misconduct penalty. Coyotes forward Chad Kolarik quickly made LA pay by scoring a power-play goal from the slot at 5:21.
The pace of the game slowed midway through the first period thanks to several fights. Phoenix's Justin Bernhardt and LA's Jordan Nolan swapped punches at the end of a shift. Not to be outdone, Phoenix's Lucas Bloodoff and LA's Kyle Clifford fought after colliding inside the Phoenix zone.
|The Phoenix bench (Photo courtesy of LA Kings). |
Coyotes forward Colin Long
, a native of nearby Santa Anta, Calif., pleased a small pocket of fans in the bleachers when he knocked a rebound past Kings goalie Martin Jones with 2:50 left in the first period to give Phoenix a 2-0 lead.
Kings center Brayden Schenn, the fifth overall pick in this year's NHL Entry Draft, had a decent scoring chance from in close 14 seconds into the second period, but Gistedt stopped his shot with a nifty save.
MacLean put Phoenix ahead 3-0 with 11:18 left in the second period just moments after Schenn drew gasps from the crowd with a hard check to Coyotes defenseman Justin Weller
in Phoenix's zone.
Gistedt's bid for a shutout ended at 10:50 of the second period when LA's Michael Pelech beat him with a quick shot from between the circles.
Gistedt was again tested several times during a Kings power play later in the second period. His best save came with a scrum anchored in front of him with about 20 seconds left in the man-disadvantage.
“I felt really good out there,” Gistedt said. “I didn’t get as tired as I did last year. That’s a big positive … The defensemen helped me out a lot tonight. I saw the pucks and the guys got rid of the rebounds for me. It was a good game all-around.”
Coyotes forward Ryan McDonough, one of 10 players in Phoenix’s rookie camp on a professional tryout, gave Phoenix a 4-1 lead with a goal at 16:36 of the second period.
The Kings, who had three power plays in the period to Phoenix's none, outshot the Coyotes 14-7 in the second period.
MacLean, wearing an alternate captain's 'A' on his sweater, scored his second goal at 2:47 of the third period from the mid-slot. He then made a strong bid for a hat trick while killing a penalty, but Jones stopped his shot from the right with his left pad.
|Matt Watkins (Photo courtesy of LA Kings). |
“I just worked hard and worked well with my linemates,” MacLean said. “Jared Staal and Colin Long
are great linemates. Luckily I got the bounces tonight. I’ll just try to use this as a steppingstone as I try to make my way toward making the team.”
Midway through the third period, Coyotes forward Bryan Cameron gobbled up a loose puck in front of LA's net and wristed a shot toward Jones, who gloved the puck nicely to keep the score 5-1. But less than a minute later, Kevin Porter, Phoenix's captain for this two-game series, made the score 6-1 with his first goal of the game.
“I thought we played a great game,” Porter said. “They took a lot of penalties early and we capitalized. We just kept it rolling from there.”