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The Wrap: Coyotes Fall Short to Kings

Garland returns, Dvorak and Chychrun score in close contest against Los Angeles

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes
Final Score: Kings 3, Coyotes 2
Record: 22-25-6
Standings: 5th-place, West Division

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The Coyotes twice led the Los Angeles Kings Monday night, but ultimately suffered a 3-2 defeat at Gila River Arena.

Arizona played without key forward Nick Schmaltz, its fourth-leading scorer.

Schmaltz was injured during pre-game warm-up. He was hit in the head by a puck from a teammate's shot that caromed off the cross-bar. The Coyotes skated with 11 forwards and seven defensemen due to the last-minute lineup adjustment.

"It was very frightening going through that and seeing (Schmaltz) laying (on the ice hurt)," Lawson Crouse said. "But at the end of the day, we can't really control that. It's a tough bounce 15 minutes before puck drop. We had to go out there and do our best to win a hockey game, and we didn't."

Crouse set up the game's opening goal, finding Christian Dvorak in the slot late in the first period. Dvorak tucked home a backhand shot as he was tripped by the stick of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.

Los Angeles tied the score, 1-1, 35 seconds later.

The Coyotes reclaimed the lead, 2-1, in the opening minute of the second period. Jakob Chychrun scored a power play goal, his 17th goal of the season, with a wrist shot from the left circle.

Conor Garland was credited with the primary assist on Chychrun's goal. Garland returned to the lineup Monday after missing the previous six games due to a lower-body injury.

Chychrun recorded nine of the Coyotes' 34 shots on goal. Head coach Rick Tocchet applauded the young defenseman's poise with the puck.

"That's one thing that (Chychrun) does really well," Tocchet said. "He gets himself in position, and he's got that wrist shot, he doesn't really have to wind up. It's that snap-wrist shot, and it's probably harder than a lot of our guys' slap shot."

The Kings scored twice in the latter stages of the second period to take a 3-2 lead.

The Coyotes out-shot the Kings 15-5 in the third period but were unable to connect for the equalizer. Darcy Kuemper made 23 saves in the loss.

Arizona trails St. Louis by five points for the final playoff spot with three games remaining.

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The Game:

First Period: Christian Dvorak opened the scoring at 17:10 to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead. Trevor Moore tied the game, 1-1, at 17:45.

Second Period: Jakob Chychrun scored at 0:53 to give the Coyotes a 2-1 lead. Anze Kopitar (7:40) and Alex Iafallo (13:40) countered for the Kings, 3-2.

Third Period: No scoring.

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Statistics:

SOG: ARI - 34, LAK - 25

PP: ARI - 1/2, LAK - 1/2

Hits: ARI - 29, LAK - 35

Blocks: ARI - 1, LAK - 12

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Tocchet's Take: "(Jakob Chychrun) has that really good, quick shot. He can really rifle it. So, that's a gift that he has. You want to get the puck to him on the point because he's a guy that will get it through. He's going to make something happen with his shot. So, you definitely want to drive the play through him from the point, especially on the power play there on the flank. I think he's got four or five goals from that flank position."

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Conor Garland said: "I felt good. I think I surprised people here coming back a little quick. We didn't think there was a chance, but my job is to play hockey, and I like playing hockey. I hate watching hockey. I wanted to get out there. Obviously, tonight's loss hurts, but I wanted to get out there and try to help us get into the playoffs. It was a decision between the doctors and the trainers and myself. We didn't think there was a chance (for me to) re-injure it. They did a great job getting me back."

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Notable:

  • Jakob Chychrun scored his NHL defensemen-leading 17th goal of the season. He is tied with Phil Kessel for the team lead in scoring with 38 points (17G, 21A).
  • Conor Garland recorded his team-leading 23rd assist on Jakob Chychrun's goal.
  • Christian Dvorak, Lawson Crouse and Christian Fischer each extended their point streaks to three games on Dvorak's game-opening goal.

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A Closer Look: Jakob Chychrun recorded a career-high nine shots on goal, and also logged a regulation career-high 28:04 TOI. Chychrun's 17 goals are the third-most by a defenseman in team history. Chychrun's 165 shots this season rank second among defensemen and 12th in the NHL. His 38 points rank 10th among defensemen.

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Coyotes Lineup:

Forwards

Bunting - Keller

Crouse - Dvorak - Fischer

Hunt - Larsson - Kessel

Garland - Brassard - Hayden

Defensemen

Chychrun - Goligoski

Ekman-Larsson - Lyubushkin

Hjalmarsson - Demers

Oesterle

Scratches

Schmaltz

Pitlick

Pederson

Raanta

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Roster Notes: Nick Schmaltz suffered an upper-body injury during warm-ups and did not play. Jordan Oesterle filled the open lineup spot, playing his first game since April 9. The Coyotes played 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Conor Garland returned to the lineup after missing the previous six games due to a lower-body injury. Antti Raanta is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and did not dress. Tyler Pitlick (day-to-day, lower-body) and Jordan Gross (IR, lower-body) remain out of the lineup.

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What's Next: The Coyotes have a practice scheduled Tuesday, 12:15 p.m. They play the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday night, 7:00 p.m., at Gila River Arena.

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Photo of the Game: One among many. Christian Dvorak, surrounded by four Kings, stays with the play while falling to the ice and chips home the game's first goal with a backhand shot.

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Highlights:

Video: Condensed Game: Kings @ Coyotes

Lead Photo Credit: Kelsey Grant - Arizona Coyotes // Photo of the Game: Kelsey Grant - Arizona Coyotes

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