SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Arizona Coyotes forwards Max Domi and Anthony Duclair combined for a goal and three points in their NHL debuts against the Los Angeles Kings on Friday. But it was veteran goalie Mike Smith who stole the show.
Smith, who struggled for much of the past two seasons, stopped 40 shots, including 27 in the first two periods, allowing the younger Coyotes to overcome a shaky start and build a lead in a 4-1 win.
It was a stark contrast to the 2014-15 season opener, when Smith allowed six goals to the Winnipeg Jets and struggled all season, losing 50 games. The only goal he allowed Friday, in the final minute of the second period, came after stopping Jeff Carter with a sprawling save. He was down and helpless when Tyler Toffoli popped in the rebound.
"We were a little tentative at the start but then we found our identity and played the way we need to if we're going to win," Smith said. "To come into this building after [the Kings] got beat pretty bad in their first game (5-1 against the San Jose Sharks), we will take that."
Smith will be in net again Saturday when the Coyotes open their home schedule against the Pittsburgh Penguins (10 p.m., ET; ROOT, FS-A).
"I don't see why we wouldn't [keep starting Smith], barring any injury issues," coach Dave Tippett said. "That was a much different start than last year, that's for sure. Smitty was outstanding and when we got chances, we capitalized on them."
The Coyotes had four goals in six preseason games, but scored four times on their first 10 shots against the Kings. Defenseman Zbynek Michalek's goal 2:00 into the game was the fastest goal to start a season since the Coyotes moved to Arizona in 1996.
For the second straight night, the Coyotes will be playing a team coming off a season-opening loss. The Penguins were shut out 3-0 by the Dallas Stars Thursday and are looking to avoid back-to-back defeats to start a season since 2010-11.
After not practicing Friday, the Penguins spent a fair amount of practice time Saturday on the power play, which struggled against the Stars, going 0-for-3.
Here are the projected lineups:
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Phil Kessel
Sergei Plotnikov – Evgeni Malkin – Patric Hornqvist
Beau Bennett – Nick Bonino – David Perron
Kevin Porter – Matt Cullen – Daniel Sprong
Ian Cole – Kris Letang
Olli Maatta – Ben Lovejoy
Brian Dumoulin – Rob Scuderi
Injured: Pascal Dupuis (lower body), Eric Fehr (elbow)
Scratched: Adam Clendening, Tim Erixon, Bobby Farnham
Max Domi - Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker
Tobias Rieder - Martin Hanzal - Anthony Duclair
Kyle Chipchura - Brad Richardson - Shane Doan
Jordan Martinook - Boyd Gordon - Steve Downie
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Michael Stone
Nicklas Grossman - Connor Murphy
Klas Dahlbeck - Zbynek Michalek
Scratched: Joe Vitale, Stefan Elliott, John Scott
Status report: The Coyotes did not skate on Saturday.… The Penguins will make one change with ex-Coyote Porter replacing Farnham on the fourth line.
Who's hot: Domi had a goal and an assist, the first Coyote to have a multi-point game in his NHL debut since Doan had two assists on Oct. 7, 1995. … After tying a franchise record for goals by a defenseman with 23 in 2014-15, Ekman-Larsson scored on Friday.