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Kings stifle Coyotes in 2-0 victory

by Jerry Brown /
GLENDALE, Ariz. – He may not be the first goalie to record 100 wins as a Los Angeles King, but he is by far the Quick-est.
Showing he knows how to reach a milestone in style, Jonathan Quick became the first Los Angeles goalie in more than five years to record back-to-back shutouts, making 28 saves as the Kings continued to make themselves at home on the road by beating the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0 Thursday night at Arena.

Quick is the first Kings goalie to record back-to-back shutouts since Mathieu Garon blanked Dallas and Vancouver on April 1-3, 2006. While he joins Rogie Vachon and Kelly Hrudey in the Kings 100-win club, Quick accomplished the feat in just 185 games -- 45 games fewer than Vachon and 43 quicker than Hrudey.

The Kings have played only one game in Los Angeles in more than three weeks, traveling more than 18,000 miles across two continents. But it hasn't seemed to pose a problem -- the Kings are off to a 4-1-1 start and have allowed just nine goals in their first six games.

"It's a good start, but we can't be satisfied with what we've done," said Quick, who recorded his 16th career shutout and has now beaten the Coyotes three straight times. "We've been good defensively the last couple of years and you come to expect it because out guys work so hard. It makes my job a lot easier when they are battling the way they do in front of me."

Dustin Brown and Kyle Clifford scored second-period goals to provide more than enough offense for  the Kings, who blanked St. Louis 5-0 in their long-awaited home opener Tuesday and have allowed more than two goals only once in their first six games.

The Kings played their last five preseason games away from home before opening the season in Stockholm and Berlin and then visiting New Jersey and Philadelphia before their home opener.  But while the long trip has been strange, the Kings are no stranger to playing well in October -- they have now won 20 of 31 games in October (20-8-3), dating back to the 2009-10 season.

 "(The schedule) was a big concern this summer when we saw the schedule and what was in front of us, especially the road games after coming back from overseas," coach Terry Murray said. "It really speaks a lot of the players in the dressing room; there is a great leadership group in there.

"When you just accept what it is and go out and play and take real good care of yourself with proper rest, you can get through it. We're still battling through it, but it's starting to come."

Los Angeles had only 22 shots, but Phoenix goalie Mike Smith had to make several spectacular saves to keep his team close. However, close wasn't good enough as the Coyotes ended a disappointing 1-2-0 homestand with four straight scoreless periods and didn't generate much after a spirited but fruitless first 10 minutes.

"It was kind of a blah game, I thought," Smith said. "We did have chances to score, but Quick is a good goalie and he made saves at times when he needed to make them. I don't think we're discouraged, but we're disappointed."

After being dominated 5-2 by Chicago on Tuesday, the Coyotes came out with a better first-period effort before the Kings began to tilt the ice at the end of the first period. Phoenix center Daymond Langkow took a hooking penalty in the waning seconds, and the Kings cashed in shortly after intermission.

Mike Richards' pretty pass out of the corner found Brown all alone at the lip of the crease. Smith stopped Brown's first try but Brown got another whack and pushed the puck between the goaltender's pads for a power-play goal at 56 seconds. It was the Kings' sixth power-play goal in their first 21 chances this season.

"Mike Smith was excellent," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We were more determined (than the Chicago game), but the bottom line is you got to find a way to win and we didn't do that. You've just got to continue pounding away at it."

Los Angeles failed to convert on two more power-play chances in the second period, but the Kings' fourth line capitalized on a Phoenix mistake to make it 2-0 at 15:23. Coyotes Petteri Nokelainen and Taylor Pyatt collided behind the Los Angeles net, giving the Kings a 4-on-2 break the other way. Enforcer Kevin Westgarth fed Clifford for a wrist shot that beat Smith to the short side. It was the 20-year-old Clifford's first goal and point of the season, of the season and his first since last April 7 when he also scored against Phoenix.

"I thought every line contributed in its own fashion tonight," Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "Every line that got out there did something that their roles might define and if we do that over the course of the year we're going to be really tough to beat."
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