PHOENIX – On Thursday night, the Los Angeles Kings jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but were unable to hold off a third-period comeback by the Phoenix Coyotes as they fell to their Pacific Division rivals by the final score of 2-1.
The Kings moved to 1-4-0 against Phoenix this season with the sixth and final game of the season series on Saturday. 17 AND COUNTING
After successfully killing off all four power plays awarded to the Coyotes on Thursday, the Kings stretched their streak of consecutive penalty kills against Phoenix to 17.
The last time they surrendered a power play goal to the Coyotes was back on Dec. 26, 2008. COYOTE KILLER
Derek Armstrong’s fifth goal of the season on Thursday, was also the 12th tally of his career against the Phoenix franchise
Armstrong’s 26 career points against the Coyotes are the most he has recorded against any NHL club. LIVING UP TO THE POTENTIAL
Despite being on the outside of the playoff race, the Kings are determined to get the most out of the remaining five game of the season.
“A lot of guys have the potential to play in the NHL and have a lot of good skills,” said Armstrong, "but the biggest part of playing at this level is competing every night and that’s the most important thing to learn as a young player.”
During a grueling 82-game season, it’s crucial to bring the dedication and work ethic to the ice each day, something the players are recognizing first-hand.
“I think it’s learning how to be professional,” said Kings forward Derek Armstrong, “and learning how to work every single day.
“Whether you’re playing cards or playing hockey, that’s the goal of any sport, to be competitive and win the game.”
QUICK CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
Having already tied the club record for shutouts by a rookie netminder (4) and being within striking distance for rookie victories, goaltender Jonathan Quick
turned in another outstanding performance on Thursday, stopping 30 of the 32 shots he faced.
“Quick was really good,” said Kings Head Coach Terry Murray. “I thought he was our best player tonight.”
Quick’s 18 wins on the season are the most by a Los Angeles goalie since Mathieu Garon’s mark of 31 from the 2005-06 campaign.
The Kings and Coyotes will wrap-up their season series on Saturday in Los Angeles. It will also mark the second time this season that the two clubs have taken part in a home-and-home series against each other.
The clubs split their last two-game set in December 2008, with each team capturing victories on the road.
With five games left in the Kings 2008-09 season, the expectations remain high.
“(My) expectations are to keep going and try to win every game,” said Kings Head Coach Terry Murray.
“We play Phoenix next, but then we go up to Canada and play three teams that are in the playoffs and those are teams that are getting ready to fine-tune their game and play well at the start of the (playoff) series that they’re going to be in. So it’s a great opportunity for a lot of our young guys to experience that kind of pace, that kind of intensity and it’s important to prepare yourself and learn from it.”QUOTES
KINGS HEAD COACH TERRY MURRAY
"[Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan] Quick was really good. Both goaltenders played good. But our guy, Quick, I thought he was our best player tonight. He made some real good stops. I thought our checking game was real good, but on the other side of it we didn’t generate a lot to test their goaltender very often… [Our] expectations are to keep going. We’re trying to win every game. We want to learn from situations… Quick’s been outstanding, I think, as we’ve moved through the season. He joined us in December, and here we are now, playing him pretty much every night and we think we’ve been seeing incredible improvement in his game. Lots of composure. He’s making the key save to give us an opportunity to win the game, any given game…"
KINGS FORWARD DEREK ARMSTRONG
"I think a lot of guys have the potential to play in the NHL and a lot of good skills. But that’s just part of playing at this level; it’s just competing every night. I think that’s the most important thing to learn for a young guy… You go out to win every night. Whether you play cards or whether you play hockey. That’s the goal of any sport you play is to go out there and be competitive and try to win games…" COYOTES HEAD COACH WAYNE GRETZKY
“I thought Montoya was good again, he made some key saves when he had to make key saves. All-in-all it was a pretty solid defensive effort two games in a row… We bounced back with a couple key saves when it was one-nothing, we found a way to win in the third period and scored a nice goal to make it two-one… [Montoya] has worked hard, he deserves the opportunity, he’s winning and he deserves that chance. [Doan] plays hard every night, he goes about his business, he’s a great example for younger players and he plays the game the way it should be played.”
COYOTES GOALTENDER AL MONTOYA
"The team played well so I just wanted to keep making those saves and give the team a chance to win every night. It’s a simple game if you keep it simple, just play hard and cut down the angles. My defensive core is doing a great job just letting me see the puck and we get along real well out there. (On letting in his first NHL goal and how reacted) Basically I had no choice, you can’t dwell on it, it happens so I dealt with it, moved on and made sure another one didn’t go in."
COYOTES FORWARD SCOTTIE UPSHALL
"[Montoya] the last couple games has been outstanding for us, big reason why we have two wins in the last couple of games….We battled back, I thought two periods with a lot of chances and not creating anything but we came out strong in the third, couple big shifts to start off and carried the momentum for the rest of the game.(On his goal) [Jovanovski] made a great play to [Lombardi] and he made a backhand pass that not many guys can do, right on my tape, and I was in the right spot at the right time." Compiled by Chad Lynch | Special to LAKings.com