GLENDALE, Ariz. – Devan Dubnyk had not won a game since Jan. 10, when he played for the Edmonton Oilers. He started two games for the Nashville Predators in late January before being traded to the Montreal Canadiens, a team he never played for, at the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline.
Dubnyk hopes to show the Arizona Coyotes that he can stop the puck so the parade of new cities and jerseys will stop.
A surprise starter in place of Mike Smith on Saturday, Dubnyk came up big in his Arizona debut, stopping the final 18 shots he saw after a rocky start to allow the Coyotes to rally from an early deficit to beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in overtime. Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the game-winner on the power play with 14 seconds left in the extra session.
The Coyotes put 40 shots on Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and needed every one to bounce back from a season-opening 6-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday with a hard-fought win against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
"It's been a roller coaster, mostly slowing down for me, for the last little while. I thought about how long it had been since my last start," said Dubnyk, who signed with the Coyotes as a free agent this summer. "It's been a long time, so it was nice to get a win and one in a game that we certainly deserved."
Quick made 37 saves for the Kings. Dubnyk finished with 24 saves.
Dubnyk allowed goals to Tanner Pearson and Jeff Carter in the first 12:57 of the game, but he settled in, making big one-on-one saves on Carter in the first period and Tyler Toffoli with 11 second left in regulation to get the Coyotes to overtime.
Toffoli's hooking penalty with 1:19 left in overtime set the stage for Arizona, and Antoine Vermette set up Ekman-Larsson, who used a Shane Doan screen and picked out the top corner over Quick's glove for the winner.
Ekman-Larsson finished with a career-high eight shots in 28:10 of ice time.
Keith Yandle, who had an assist on all three Arizona goals, said the team didn't panic after the Kings jumped out to the early lead.
"As a collective group on the bench, we felt like it was early in the game and there was time to come together and get going," Yandle said. "We made a couple of turnovers that led to goals, and that happens in this league. We gave them two goals and we had to stop, and we really played better from there."
The Kings managed five shots during a 27-minute span following Carter's goal and are now 0-1-1 to start the season.
"They outshot us, we gave up two (power-play) goals, and we lost 3-2," Kings defenseman Matt Greene said. "We kill penalties better in the next game, take care of special teams, and that's it."
Kings coach Darryl Sutter thought the effort was an improvement from the 4-0 home loss to the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.
"It's important that we played a little better and we continue to take those little steps," Sutter said.
The Coyotes rallied to tie the game when Vermette tipped home a Yandle shot on a power play in the final minute of the first period, and Mikkel Boedker scored on a breakaway set up by Yandle midway through the second.
"It was huge to get back in the game and it shows the character the team is trying to build," Boedker said. "We got 80 (games) to go and it's all about building. This is the way we have to play to win."
The Coyotes appeared to take the lead with 2:47 left in regulation when a scramble for a Boedker rebound in front of the crease wound up in the net. But Doan was penalized for interference against Carter, negating the goal.
The Kings came hard on the ensuing power play, but Dubnyk stood tall and then stoned Toffoli on the backhand with 11 seconds left to force overtime.
Dubnyk got the start after Smith allowed six goals on 27 shots to the Jets, four of them in the first 14 minutes. Dubnyk admitted he was surprised to get a start so early in the season, but Arizona coach Dave Tippett said he didn't hesitate to make the change.
"Smitty admittedly said he didn't feel comfortable in the first game, and I wanted to get Dubnyk in during this (season-opening four-game homestand) and this was the opportunity," Tippett said. "Our whole group knew we needed to be better and it was going to be a big challenge for us against the defending champions. We played well, and that was a game we deserved to win."