LOS ANGELES – Jonathan Quick
’s second shutout in three games led the Kings to a 1-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes Monday night at STAPLES Center.
The Coyotes came into the night as the second-worst offensive team in the NHL, and the Kings defensive corps did a fantastic job in keeping Arizona’s forwards quiet in what was a critical win as the postseason draws nearer.
In picking up the two points Monday night, the Kings surpassed the Winnipeg Jets, once again reclaiming the Western Conference’s second and final wild-card playoff spot.
“We worked hard, we had some good focus,” Darryl Sutter said following the win. “It was tough scoring, we were playing a team that was a tough checking team. I talked to our players about [the Coyotes] coming off a five-game home stand; every game that they played in those five games was 1-0 going into the third period, so they can check.”
Although Arizona tried to slow down the Kings with their physicality, the Kings controlled much of the play throughout the night, but were only able to beat the Coyotes’ Mike Smith for one goal – that coming off the stick of rookie Andy Andreoff, the first of his NHL career.
Late in the second period, Jordan Nolan outskated Arizona defenders as he hounded on a puck dumped into the Coyotes’ zone. Once Nolan got possession, he spun off the play to create time and space, then immediately found Andreoff with a cross-ice pass. Andreoff, with time, after sinking to Mike Smith’s back-door undetected, beat Smith through the five-hole upon receiving Nolan’s pass.
“I kind of blacked out, I couldn’t really hear anything,” Andreoff said of scoring his first goal. “I was just shocked. I got the monkey off my back; I was definitely relieved. It’s a dream come true, everyone wants to get their first NHL goal. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am and I’m glad I got it.”
Brayden McNabb registered the secondary assist on Andreoff’s goal, giving him four points (4A) in his last four games. Jordan Nolan, with the primary assist, now has seven points (4G, 3A) on the season – three shy of his career high of 10, which he set last season.
With Andreoff’s marker, the Kings took a 1-0 lead into the third period. This time, the Kings were able to hold onto their slim lead – something they were unable to do against the Nasvhille Predators on Saturday night.
The Kings’ defense, in front of a confident Jonathan Quick, didn’t allow the Coyotes many prime scoring opportunities, consistently keeping Arizona’s forwards to the perimeter throughout the evening.
In killing off both of Arizona’s power plays Monday night, the Kings’ penalty kill has now been successful in 41 of their opponents’ last 43 man-advantage situations dating back to February 12.
Quick’s shutout Monday night gives him six on the season, and 37 in his NHL career.
The Kings finished their season series against the Coyotes with a 3-0-1 mark, earning seven of a possible eight points in meetings against Arizona.
Andy Andreoff (1G), Brayden McNabb (1A), and Jordan Nolan (1A) led all Kings players in points scored (1), Andrej Sekera and Drew Doughty in shots taken (4), Nick Shore in hits delivered (6), Robyn Regehr in shots blocked (4), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (27:31). Jonathan Quick made 25 saves in the win.
With the win, the Kings’ record improves to 34-22-13; their mark on home ice at STAPLES Center jumps to 22-8-7. The Kings will venture out to Orange County on Wednesday night to play the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center before returning home Saturday afternoon; the puck is slated to drop just after 7:00PM PT.