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Kings can't catch Coyotes' comeback

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

– Venturing out for their first road game of the regular season, little was clicking for the Kings after striking early for a pair of goals Saturday night at Gila River Arena. Arizona clawed back while the Kings struggled to separate themselves, ultimately falling in the final seconds of overtime, losing 3-2.

What they did do tonight in Glendale, that they couldn’t Wednesday night at STAPLES Center, is score. The line of Toffoli, Carter, and Pearson got the Kings’ offense churning early.

Less than two minutes in, Tanner Pearson’s tenacity in Arizona’s zone led to a Coyotes turnover, which Pearson hopped on and chipped past goaltender Devan Dubnyk. As Arizona fumbled to clear the puck from its own zone, Pearson pick-pocketed Lauri Korpikoski, then walked in alone on goal.

Pearson’s line went to work for another goal minutes later in the first period. This time around, it was the doing of his mates Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter.

Toffoli, who was quick to put pressure on the Coyotes’ defense as play shifted into Arizona territory, caused defenseman Michael Stone to cough up a clearing attempt, right onto Jeff Carter’s stick.

Carter, with time and space aplenty, walked in and fired a quick snap shot past Dubnyk, giving the Kings a 2-0 lead 13 minutes into the game.

The Kings had trouble generating much offense from then on out.

Arizona cut the Kings’ lead to 2-1 with :39.0 seconds remaining in the opening period, and with that, seemingly carried over the momentum gained from that goal into the second frame.

Marred by turnovers, and skittish play in the neutral zone, the Kings had very little sync to their game in the second period, registering a lowly total of three shots, and surrendering the game’s tying goal.

Arizona’s Mikkel Boedker knotted the score at 2-2 after receiving a lengthy pass and slipping through Slava Voynov and Brayden McNabb for a breakaway during a shaky Kings line change.

After a scoreless third period, where the Kings’ play rebounded a bit, but still couldn’t score on 11 shots taken, the Kings went to their first overtime game of the season.

The Coyotes were granted a power play during the final moments of overtime after Tyler Toffoli took a rather smart penalty, hooking Arizona’s Martin Hanzal to nix a favorable Coyotes scoring opportunity.

The Kings ultimately paid the price, though, as the Coyotes buried the game-winner with :14 seconds left to play in overtime, capitalizing for their second power play goal of the evening.

Jonathan Quick was undoubtedly one of the better players on the Kings roster tonight, holding strong in net, making 37 saves on the 40 shots he faced.

Alec Martinez and Jeff Carter led the team in shots (5), Robyn Regehr and Brayden McNabb in hits (6), Matt Greene in blocked shots (4), and Drew Doughty in ice time (30:00). Mike Richards, who struggled mightily in winning faceoffs Wednesday night, was the best on the Kings’ roster tonight, winning 83% of his draws.

Arizona clogged up shooting lanes throughout the night, blocking a total of 22 Kings shots, providing tight security for goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

With the overtime loss, the Kings have officially picked up their first standings point of the season, and hold a record of 0-1-1. The Kings will now head back to Los Angeles to kick off a six-game home stand, their second longest one the season.

The Winnipeg Jets will be in town for a 7:00PM PT date at STAPLES Center on Sunday night.

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