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Jones, Kings shut out struggling Coyotes

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter had an interesting decision when it came to his starting goaltender Thursday. Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones were coming off shutout performances. Jones got the call and continued to keep the padlock on the Los Angeles net in place.

Captain Dustin Brown had two goals and an assist and Jones made 26 saves for his second straight shutout and the sixth in his first 26 NHL games to pace the Kings to a 4-0 victory against the Arizona Coyotes.

The Kings (14-7-5) have back-to-back shutouts -- Quick blanked the Boston Bruins 2-0 on Tuesday -- and have shut out three of their past four opponents.

Jones, who shut out the Minnesota Wild 4-0 on Nov. 26, tied Tony Esposito of the Chicago Blackhawks (1969) as the third-fastest goalie to six shutouts in NHL history. His 26 games (24 starts) are third to Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets (24 games in 2009) and Jacque Plante of the Montreal Canadiens (1954).

Jones' current shutout streak is 146:32. His best save came nine minutes into the third period when he stopped Tobias Rieder's bid for his third shorthanded goal in the past three games on a mini-breakaway.

"The way the whole team played that was really a complete road win for us," said Jones, 24, an undrafted free agent who signed with the Kings in 2008. "I try not look at shutouts too much. It's more about the process than the results. I just have to continue to work on my game. There is some stuff I can definitely clean up and continue to get better."

Sutter was even less excited to mark the moment. "A little bit of luck and a lot of work," he said. "Shutouts are not that big of a deal. If you start talking about them it doesn't happen again. So it's not that big of a deal. We are trying to get wins. If we hadn't scored tonight and they had scored one then we would be complaining about it.

Jarrett Stoll and Alec Martinez each had a power-play goal for the Kings, who had lost five straight games in Arizona. The Kings matched their season total for power-play goals on the road (two) in a 15-minute span against the Coyotes.

Arizona (10-14-3) has lost six straight games at Gila River Arena (0-4-2), the longest home losing streak for the Coyotes in almost five years. They lost six straight at home from Jan. 27 to Feb. 16, 2009, when Wayne Gretzky was behind the bench. The Coyotes are 3-5-2 in their past 10 games and they held a 20-minute, players-only meeting after the game to discuss the situation.

Arizona has been shut out in back-to-back games at home and has gone 172:33 without scoring a goal in its own building. The Coyotes scored three times in the first 10:53 against the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 25, but blew the 3-0 lead and lost 4-3 in overtime.

"We have to believe that we're good enough team to win and when you get down one or two you are good enough to come back," Arizona captain Shane Doan said. "To a man, you have to find a level of desperation. We have to be better, as a group and as individual. It's doesn't matter what you do for 30 minutes or for a period here or there. When we've had success it's been by doing things simple."

Arizona goalie Mike Smith allowed three goals in 20 shots before being replaced by Devan Dubnyk after Stoll's goal. Smith's record this season fell to 5-13-2.

"I'm done with excuses. It's got to stop," Smith said. "It's easy to point fingers at everyone else, but the end of the day it's about what you can do to be better and I have to be better. Whether it's deflections or screened shots or deflections or whatever they are. You have to make more saves to give your team a chance when they're struggling. You're paid to be a top player on your team and you have to perform like one. That hasn't happened and it's gotta turn around and it starts tomorrow in practice."

The Coyotes had some good offensive pressure early, but any momentum was wiped out by a sloppy giveaway. Kyle Chipchura's backward pass toward his own blue line was intercepted by Brown, who cruised in alone and beat Smith over the blocker for his fifth goal of the season.

"We've struggled on the road this season so to get back-to-back shutouts on the road is something to build on," said Brown, who has four goals and eight points in the past eight games. "You look at [Jones] and a lot of his success is being really good a smothering pucks. He doesn't give up a lot of rebounds and there aren't a lot of second chances on him."

Arizona, which was 0-for-21 at home on the power play in November, had some good pressure on its first chance in December but was unable to score for the sixth straight period on home ice. After both Joe Vitale and Brandon McMillan had good chances in close, the Kings turned the puck up ice and Brown put a shot between the legs of defenseman David Schlemko and over Smith's shoulder at 9:57.

A Los Angeles power play that had produced all of two goals in 31 chances in the first 11 road games then got into the act.

With Chipchura off for high-sticking Jordan Nolan, Brown set up defenseman Alec Martinez for a shot that Stoll got just enough of to roll over the pad of Smith and into the net at 15:41. Smith got the hook and the Coyotes were in a deep hole.

With Arizona's B.J. Crombeen off for hooking in the third period, Martinez used a screen by Brown to rip a Justin Williams setup past Dubnyk's glove hand at 9:36. Dubnyk finished with 21 saves.

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