GLENDALE – A spectacular night for Dustin Brown
coupled with Martin Jones
’ second consecutive shutout fueled the Kings to a commanding 4-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes Thursday night at Gila River Arena.
The Kings handed Arizona their sixth-straight loss on home ice, while picking up their third road win of the season. Other than the opening ten minutes of the game, the Kings dominated puck possession, zone time, and physical play throughout the night. For the Kings, it was the club's first regular season win in Arizona since January 26, 2013 - they had dropped their previous five games played on the road against the Coyotes.
Dustin Brown headlined the evening on the score sheet, burying the Kings’ first two goals, and finishing the night with three points.
The Kings’ goaltending though, kept whatever offense built their lead safe and secure. Martin Jones, after pitching his sixth-career shutout tonight, hasn’t allowed a goal in his last 146:32 minutes played.
“It was a solid game,” Jones said of the win. “There is obviously some stuff that we want to clean up, but it was a really solid, complete game for us. We did a really good job on the forecheck and also in our own zone and defending. I thought it was a really good game for us tonight.”
Aggressive play in the neutral zone got the Kings on the board midway through the first period when Dustin Brown hopped on a Coyotes turnover and sped in alone on Arizona’s Mike Smith. Brown took advantage of a shaky Coyotes line-change and beat Smith with a shot low to the blocker side, giving the Kings a 1-0 lead with just over 11 minutes left to play in the first.
The Kings’ captain was far from done; he chimed in with his second goal of the evening midway through the second period, giving the Kings a two-goal lead with just over 10 minutes remaining in the middle frame.
Brown, entering Arizona’s zone on a two-on-one sequence with Jarret Stoll, slowed the puck down for a moment, created space for himself, and fired a wrist shot that handcuffed Smith, beating him low to the glove side.
For Brown, it was his sixth goal of the season, and his 26th career multi-goal game – his previous two-goal game came on October 19 of last season. He now has eight points (4G, 4A) in the Kings’ previous eight games.
With just under five minutes to play in the second, Jarret Stoll expanded the Kings’ lead to 3-0, scoring his third goal of the season during the Kings’ first power play of the evening.
While Alec Martinez and Dustin Brown worked the puck atop Arizona’s zone, Jarret Stoll cemented himself in front of the Coyotes’ net. Martinez wound up for a shot from the point, and Stoll, setting a textbook screen, redirected Martinez’s shot past Smith.
“I think the first thing you need to do is try to take [the goalie’s] eyes away, you gotta try to play goalie first,” Stoll said of his positioning that led to his goal. “Obviously you don’t want to get hit by the puck, but you want to try and play goal. If you’re seeing the puck, most likely [the goalie] isn’t, and I just tried to get a stick on it. It was a lucky break to get a stick on it, but our power play was pretty good tonight and we were finding loose pucks.”
Mike Smith was pulled thereafter, having allowed three goals on 20 shots. Devan Dubnyk, who faced the Kings in the first meeting this season between the two clubs, came in for relief.
The Kings, taking a three-goal lead into the third period, did not slow down to a conservative game, registering 19 shots during the final 20 minutes.
Alec Martinez, in his second game back after missing seven games with an injury to his left hand, struck for the Kings’ fourth goal of the night with just over 10 minutes left to play in regulation.
During the Kings’ third and final power play of the evening, Martinez fired off a slap shot from atop the point that beat Devan Dubnyk high to the right corner. Dustin Brown provided the screen, taking away vision of Martinez’s shot from Arizona’s goaltender.
Martinez, who also assisted on Jarret Stoll’s goal, now has two points (1G, 1A) in his two games since returning from injury.
The Kings now have three shutouts in their last four games, including Martin Jones’ consecutive pair. Prior to tonight, Jones was the last goalie to record consecutive shutouts in a Kings uniform, coming on December 7 and 10 of last season. Jones has stopped a combined 54 shots in his two straight shutouts, and hasn’t allowed a goal in his last 146:32 minutes played.
“He’s a pretty good goalie,” Brown said of Jones following the game. “I think a lot of his success is he’s really good at smothering the pucks. He doesn’t give up a bunch of rebounds. As a result, there are not a lot of second opportunities on him.”
Dustin Brown led all Kings players in points scored (2G, 1A = 3), Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter in shots taken (4), Robyn Regehr in hits delivered (10), Alec Martinez in shots blocked (4), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (24:26). Martin Jones made 26 saves in the win.
With the win, the Kings record improves to 14-7-5, and their record away from Los Angeles jumps to 3-4-4. The Kings will return home to STAPLES Center Saturday afternoon to play the Philadelphia Flyers before venturing out on a five-game road trip. The puck is slated to drop at 1:00PM PT.
*REPORTING FROM EL SEGUNDO, CA