-- Darryl Sutter's honeymoon in Los Angeles continues.
Although the Kings still are not lighting up the scoreboard since Sutter took over as coach on Dec.20, they are finding ways to win. Drew Doughty
provided the latest triumph when scored 38 seconds into overtime to lift the Kings to a 1-0 victory against the Phoenix Coyotes
on Thursday night.
L.A. improved to 5-0-3 under Sutter and has earned points in nine straight games, two shy of the franchise record.
Doughty got the puck from Jarret Stoll
and drove in on the left side of goalie Mike Smith
. His pass slid across the crease and went in off Oliver Ekman-Larsson
as Jack Johnson
crashed the net.
"One-inch goal," Sutter said. "It's good. In 30 years he'll say he went in and deked him out and went under him."
It was relief twofold for Doughty, who scored his first goal since Nov.10.
"To finally contribute on the score sheet with a goal for the team, and most important, we get the win, I was real happy," Doughty said.
"I just tried to drive the net. Sometimes you've got to score those dirty goals like that."
Both posts moved slightly upward and the back of the net lifted slightly – but video review said the posts stayed on the pegs.
The goal ended a duel between Smith and Jonathan Quick
Quick made 22 saves in regulation for his NHL-leading sixth shutout this season and 20th of his career. Smith stopped 27 shots.
While it's not the ideal blueprint for a win, Los Angeles continues to taste success with Sutter. The Kings hit the 41-game mark just one point behind first-place San Jose in the Pacific Division.
"The boys are playing great right now," Doughty said. "He's doing a great job. He's making sure we're hard on pucks and not letting us step off the pedal one bit. He's making us work hard – be faster on pucks, whatever zone it's in and that's the key reason to success.
"We definitely got to start putting some pucks in the net during regulation and stop giving other teams points and going into overtime. But we got the two points, and that was the biggest thing. I'm hoping we can get some more goals, because that's what hurting us right now."
Quick matched Smith and weathered a 7-0 Coyotes advantage in the first seven minutes of the third, including a glove save on Lauri Korpikoski
Quick typically doesn't let on that it would be nice to get scoring support under him, and Thursday was no different.
"It doesn't matter how we do it, as long as we are getting two points and we continue to climb the standings," Quick said.
Phoenix also hit the halfway point of its season -- but on a frustrating note. Coach Dave Tippett argued that Doughty's goal should have been goalie interference because of Johnson.
"If they don't give the goal to Johnson, then it's goalie interference," Tippett said. "If he comes in and puts his leg in front of Mike Smith
's leg so (Smith) can't make a stop that is goalie interference. It's as simple as that. It's a poor call. It's a blown call that should be no goal."
Phoenix, which was already without centers Martin Hanzal
, Boyd Gordon
and suspended winger Raffi Torres
, got down to five defenseman when Adrian Aucoin
left the game late in the first period after he took a puck in the face from Mike Richards
The Coyotes still dominated on faceoffs with 32 wins against 20 losses and gave themselves a chance to win behind Smith as L.A. had close calls in the third.
was just out of reach of a loose puck with Smith out of the net. Dustin Penner
hit the right post with 5:47 remaining in regulation, and Anze Kopitar
's wrist shot found Smith's chest with 48 seconds to go.
The line of Richardson, Andrei Loktionov
and Trevor Lewis
might have been L.A.'s most effective of the night.
"They did lots of good things," Sutter said. "They've been talking about what they want to do. They're giving us real high-speed shifts. Brad has scored two (times in the past six games). We need Lewie and Lokti to do that."
L.A. dominated the second period and held Phoenix to five shots on goal but couldn't get one by Smith.
Halfway through the period, Justin Williams
drove in on the left side but his backhand was met by Smith's blocker. Richards had a rebound in the crease but Smith made a right leg save at the goal line. Penner broke in on Smith but shot it into Smith's chest. Penner promptly whacked his stick against the glass in frustration.
Neither team had many quality scoring chances in the first. Shane Doan
was stopped on a wraparound by Quick and again from the slot.
"Obviously we need to create some more opportunities and find some ways to get some in," Doan said. "(Smith) played unbelievable for us and we've just got to find ways to score."
Torres served the last of a two-game suspension for charging Minnesota's Nate Prosser.
The Kings are 6-0-1 in their past seven against Phoenix.