GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After 12 shots on goal and two others that hit the post in the first 18 minutes of the third period, the Los Angeles Kings finally scored the go-ahead goal.
Defenseman Jake Muzzin beat goalie Mike Smith for a power-play goal with 1:49 remaining to lift the Kings to a 3-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Tuesday.
With Martin Hanzal in the penalty box for tripping, Muzzin got enough of Jeff Carter's saucer pass through the crease to give the Kings their first lead of the game.
WATCH: All Kings vs. Coyotes highlights
Dustin Brown and Tanner Pearson each hit the post in the third before Muzzin scored his seventh goal.
"I saw the puck coming through the air, and it just landed perfectly on my stick, and I was able to get it up," Muzzin said. "Nice play by [Carter], lucky play by me, but we'll take it. We need points and we need to play desperate, and it was big for us to start off on the right foot."
Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists, Jordan Nolan scored, and Peter Budaj made 30 saves for the Kings (25-21-4), who have won three games in a row after losing four straight.
Video: LAK@ARI: Kopitar crashes net, buries loose puck
Los Angeles holds the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames.
Kopitar said the Kings have been in playoff mode for a month now.
"We've been pushing pretty good since right after Christmas," Kopitar said. "It's no secret, being where we are in the standings; the points are huge right now."
Jordan Martinook and Ryan White scored for Arizona, with linemate Lawson Crouse assisting on each goal. The Coyotes were being outshot 13-3 in the third period before they had six shots over the final 1:25.
Arizona (16-27-6) had its three-game winning streak end and lost for the second time in its past seven at home. Smith made 37 saves.
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett gave the Kings credit for coming hard in the third period but felt the two penalties against Arizona were unwarranted, especially the one that led to the game-winner.
"Both of them are soft calls (especially) in a tight game like that," Tippett said. "I watched both of them on replay … and on the second one, Kopitar basically falls down.
Video: LAK@ARI: Martinook pounces on loose puck and scores
"But that's the way it goes when we spend too much time in our zone. Momentum goes against you and the calls go against you."
The Coyotes had a chance to get the puck out of their zone right before Muzzin's winning goal, but Drew Doughty blocked Alex Goligoski's clearing attempt, and the Kings capitalized.
Each team benefited from a fortuitous bounce in the first period.
Connor Murphy's shot from the side boards hit traffic in front and ended up at the feet of Martinook, who slid the puck between Budaj's pads from the slot for a 1-0 Arizona lead at 8:48. It was Martinook's seventh goal of the season, second in his past 31 games.
The Kings tied it 1-1 2:03 later. Doughty's shot from the point hit Coyotes defenseman Luke Schenn and dropped in the crease. Marian Gaborik had two swipes at the puck before Kopitar dashed in and beat Smith. Kopitar's sixth goal was his second in three games.
White pounced on the rebound of a Crouse shot to score on a wrist shot with 1:30 left in the second period to make it 2-1 Coyotes. White's fourth goal was his second in the past three games and the fourth by Arizona's fourth line over that span.
The Coyotes lead lasted 25 seconds. Kopitar sent Nolan in with a long flip pass, and when Smith missed a poke-check attempt, Nolan's backhand trickled into the net to tie it 2-2.
Video: LAK@ARI: Nolan finishes a great individual effort
Goal of the game
After the Kings hit the post on their previous power play, Carter found Muzzin crashing the net for the game-winner.
Video: LAK@ARI: Muzzin tallies late go-ahead power-play goal
Save of the game
With the Kings on the power play, Smith flashed his glove to stop Muzzin's one-timer from the top of the left faceoff circle at 3:15 of the second period. "I shot it as hard as I can," Muzzin said. "… He's got a quick glove!"
Video: LAK@ARI: Smith flashes leather on Muzzin's slap shot
Unsung performance of the game
Brown had seven shots on goal in 17:56 and hit the post with a deflection of a Muzzin shot in the third period.
Highlight of the game
White hustled to get to a Crouse rebound and gave the Coyotes the lead, albeit briefly.
Video: LAK@ARI: White cashes in on rebound late in 2nd
"Some guys just like to play against certain teams." -- Kings coach Darryl Sutter on forward Jordan Nolan, who has scored three of his four goals this season against the Coyotes
Need to know
Smith was 5-0-2 when facing 40 or more shots this season. … Doan played in his 1,515th NHL game, passing Steve Yzerman for 16th on the League's all-time list.
Kings: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV)
Coyotes: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; FS-A, CSN-CH, NHL.TV)
Video: Muzzin's late PPG pushes Kings past Coyotes, 3-2