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Kings Top Coyotes in Shootout in Rookie Series Opener

by Anthony Perez / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE -- The rookie squads of the Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings played the first game of their two-game series Tuesday night at Arena, and the Kings edged the hosts, 5-4, in a shootout.

LA jumped to a 2-0 lead. Thomas Hickey netted LA’s first goal at the 4:54 mark of the first period and Kyle Clifford added the second one at 13:55.

The Coyotes cut the lead to 2-1 when Evan Bloodoff beat Kings goaltender Martin Jones with 3:34 left in the first period.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson (left) moves the puck. Photo by Norm Hall.
Physical play was the story of the first period. Coyotes forward Blair Riley, who is in Rookie Camp on a tryout, delivered a big, open-ice hit on Clifford in front of the Phoenix bench at the halfway point of the first period. Phoenix’s Josh Lunden dropped the gloves with the LA's Nicolas Deslauriers just moments later.

At the 6:09 mark of the second period the Kings extended their lead to 3-1 when Jordan Weal beat Coyotes goaltender Mark Visentin, whom Phoenix selected late in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

Trailing 3-1 to start the third period, the Coyotes rallied. Just 57 seconds into the period, Oliver Ekman-Larsson cut the Kings lead to one. Riley added a goal less than three minutes later to tie the score at three apiece.

The Kings took the lead back with Robert Czarnik’s goal at the 6:35 mark, but late in the period Bloodoff picked up his second goal of the night to tie the score 4-4.

“It was just one of those nights for me,” Bloodoff said. “I was getting a lot of bounces going my way, and a lot of pucks getting right on my tape, and a couple trickled in for me.”

The game remained scoreless through overtime. Brandon Kozun then scored in the first round of the shootout while Jones held all three Coyotes shooters scoreless, and the Kings earned a 5-4 win.

Blair Riley and Charles Inglis celebrate a goal. Photo by Norm Hall.
After the game, Coyotes Coach Ray Edwards talked about his team’s ability to rally from a 3-1 deficit.

“I thought we battled hard to get back into it,” Edwards said. “(The) guys showed a lot of guts and determination to keep fighting. I thought Riley had a really good third period for us. Evan (Bloodoff) was real good; good energy from him tonight. And I thought (Visentin) was good. He obviously made some big saves for us to keep it close.”

Visentin also liked how his team ability rallied.

“I think it (tonight’s game) was a big learning curve for us and everybody in general,” Visentin said. “You could clearly tell as the game went on that we got better and better, and coming back from a 3-1 deficit was big for us. It was too bad we couldn’t get the win there, but at the same time I’m proud of the guys that we battled back, and it just shows the amount of confidence that we have in each other.”


• The second game of the two-game series is Wednesday at 2 p.m. It’s open to the public, free of charge.

Louis Domingue will start in goal for the Coyotes in Wednesday's game.

•Captain Shane Doan, goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and defensemen Derek Morris and Keith Yandle watched Tuesday night’s game from behind Phoenix's bench.

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