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Kings' offense instrumental in 4-2 win over Arizona

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

– The Kings’ offense continued to roll Saturday afternoon in the club’s 4-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center.

Hot off of a six-goal performance Thursday night, the Kings were once again able to pad the scoreboard with balanced goal scoring – while overcoming a second period deficit for the second consecutive game.

“We came out pretty good dictating the tempo,” said Anze Kopitar following the game. “It could easily have gone south following those two goals, but we stuck together and got it done on the power play. Our penalty kill was pretty solid tonight too, and that’ll win you games.”

The tempo the Kings dictated so well could have drastically changed if it weren’t for Jonathan Quick’s remarkable save on Arizona’s David Moss on a shorthanded breakaway opportunity just over a minute into the game.

“Quickie’s been doing it for how many years now?” Trevor Lewis said of Quick’s stunning save. “He makes those big saves for us, and it really gets the bench up and everyone going. We want to battle hard for him, and came right back and scored some big goals.”

Jeff Carter, who broke his scoring slump Thursday night, got the Kings on the board late in the first period. Arizona’s Keith Yandle was unable to clear the puck from the Coyotes’ zone due to aggressive forechecking by Anze Kopitar. Kopitar recovered the loose puck from Yandle, found Carter open at the top of the right circle with a pass, and Carter whistled a slap shot past Devan Dubnyk to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.

Carter, who rarely tees up for a slap shot, was successful in doing so. For Carter, it was his second goal in as many games, after going 13 straight contests without scoring. Carter has five points (2G, 3A) in the previous two games.

Arizona responded with two goals in a five-minute span to start the second period – both of which were tough pucks for Jonathan Quick to handle.

Martin Hanzal beat Quick high to the glove-side corner on a last-ditch effort chip shot as he was running out of space while driving to the net. Hanzal’s shot found about the only opening available to tie the score 1-1.

Five minutes later, Arizona’s Kyle Chipchura put the Coyotes up 2-1 with a little bit of puck luck. Chichura, who was looking for a lane for a cross-ice pass in the Kings’ slot, had his pass redirected off of Mike Richards’ left skate, then Brayden McNabb’s stick, and past a helpless Jonathan Quick.

The Kings were able to crawl back and tie the game before the second intermission when Marian Gaborik struck yet again on the Kings’ fourth power play of the day.

As the Kings moved the puck in Arizona’s zone, Jamie McBain found Anze Kopitar with a pass from atop the point. Kopitar, seeing Gaborik to his left to provide support, slipped him a nifty backhand pass that left Gaborik alone with a golden scoring opportunity. With Devan Dubnyk out of position following Kopitar’s pass, Gaborik buried the puck high into a wide-open net to tie the score 2-2 with 2:20 to play in the second period.

Another power play opportunity for the Kings was granted early in the third period when Arizona’s Martin Hanzal was sent to the box. It only took the Kings 10 seconds to execute on the man advantage.

Anze Kopitar controlled the puck high along the half-boards after a successful offensive zone faceoff win, and found Alec Martinez with a sharp cross-ice pass. Martinez, with time and space aplenty, walked in a fired a slap shot past Devan Dubnyk low to the glove side. Martinez’s goal, his fourth of the season, proved to be the game-winner.

Kopitar, with the primary assist on Martinez’s goal, finished the day with two assists, and now has nine points (1G, 8A) in the last three games.

Trevor Lewis provided the insurance with just over three minutes to play in the game, giving the Kings a 4-2, jamming home a Tyler Toffoli pass from point-blank range on a broken play.

Toffoli hopped on a loose puck after Marian Gaborik was hit upon entering the zone, then looked for his options and found Lewis open in front of Arizona’s net. Lewis’ marker all but solidified the win for the Kings.

Jamie McBain, who was playing in his first game today after being designated a healthy scratch the previous nine games, chimed in with two assists. For McBain, it was his first multi-point game as a King.

“It’s always nice to get a multi-point game,” McBain said afterward. “It makes my job easier when I have the production of guys that we have in this group, I just have to get them the puck and they make things happen.”

With his goal tonight, Marian Gaborik has now scored in four consecutive games. Gaborik has eight points (6G, 2A) during the streak.

Anze Kopitar (3A) led all Kings players in points scored (3), Jeff Carter in shots taken (5), Jake Muzzin in hits delivered (6), Alec Martinez in shots blocked (8), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (27:37). Jonathan Quick made 15 saves in the win.

With the win, the Kings’ record improves to 17-11-6; their mark at STAPLES Center jumps to 13-4-1. The Kings will continue their four-game home stand Monday night when the Calgary Flames pay a visit to STAPLES Center. The puck is slated to drop at 7:30PM PT.

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