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game recap

Coyotes lose to Kings, drop back in Western wild-card race

Fall four points behind second spot with two games to play

by Alan Robinson / Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes lost ground in the Western Conference wild-card race with a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Gila River Arena on Tuesday.

The Coyotes (38-34-8) trail the Colorado Avalanche by four points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the West with two games remaining for each team. The Avalanche won 6-2 against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.

"We let two (points) slip from us today so we've got to have short-term memory and focus in on the four (points) we can get because we can't get these two back," Coyotes forward Derek Stepan said.


[WATCH: All Kings vs. Coyotes highlights]


Jack Campbell made an NHL career-high 49 saves for the Kings (30-41-9), who are 5-2-1 in their past eight games.

"We're extremely embarrassed and disappointed by the season, we expect to win every game, so it's definitely fun to kind of be the villains and try to eliminate teams from the playoffs," Campbell said.

Trevor Lewis, left unchecked in front, put the Kings ahead 2-1 at 3:29 of the third period with a backhand after Stepan turned the puck over in his own zone. Lewis' goal was his first since Oct. 28.

Lewis' stick struck goalie Darcy Kuemper's mask on his follow-through, and Kuemper was helped off the ice with an eye injury. He was replaced by Calvin Pickard, who made five saves.

Video: LAK@ARI: Lewis flips backhander past Kuemper

Kuemper, making his 21st consecutive start, allowed two goals on 18 shots.

Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said Lewis' stick got through an opening in Kuemper's mask, and the goalie's vision was blurry afterward.

"But he feels OK, and he seemed to be in pretty good spirits. … It looked bad, but I think he's going to be OK," Tocchet said.

Drew Doughty scored into an empty net with 45 seconds remaining for the 3-1 final.

"They might have got 50 shots but I thought our guys played super hard in front, tied up sticks and cleared rebounds and did a good job on their top guys," Campbell said.

Video: LAK@ARI: Campbell sprawls to deny Galchenyuk

The Coyotes have lost seven of nine (2-4-3), scoring more than two goals once in that span.

"We can sit here and talk about it all night long, but we had our looks and it's been kind of the story the last few weeks, we've been snake bit," Stepan said. "We've got to find a way to score goals."

Brad Richardson gave Arizona a 1-0 lead at 16:06 of the second with a wrist shot from the slot off a drop pass from Vinnie Hinostroza.

Kyle Clifford tied it at 1-1 at 19:59 of the second when he deflected Tyler Toffoli's shot from the left point. The puck crossed the goal line with one-tenth of a second remaining.

"That goal really hurt," Tocchet said. "Then we're pressing (in the third period)."

The goal was the first allowed by Kuemper at even strength in a span of 228:13, since the Coyotes' 2-0 loss at the New York Islanders on March 24.

Video: LAK@ARI: Clifford beats the buzzer with tip-in goal

The Coyotes outshot the Kings 50-24 and failed to score on six power plays.

"I think what motivated us was the (Calgary) game," Kings coach Willie Desjardins said. "We knew coming in these guys would be playing well, and they did, they put up a lot of shots but our guys battled."

The Coyotes play at the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday and host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. The Avalanche is home Thursday against the Jets and at the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

"The guys are down but we've got to worry about winning a game in Vegas and go from there," Tocchet said. "Colorado has Winnipeg, a tough game. You win a game, they lose a game, and all of a sudden it changes a little bit."


They said it

"They were putting it on the line for their playoff push but our guys didn't back down. That's playoff hockey. Even though it's been a disappointing year it's still fun to play against teams that are on their game down the stretch." -- Kings goalie Jack Campbell

"It's tough when you lose a game like this but we've got to do what we can to finish strong. Two more games, stay positive and see what we can do, and you never know." -- Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson


Need to know

Clifford has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past three games. … Arizona had won seven of its previous 10 against the Kings. … The Kings and Coyotes split their four-game season series. … Kuemper has allowed five goals in his past four starts. … Arizona is 10-2-1 in its past 13 home games.


What's next

Kings: At the Anaheim Ducks on Friday (10 p.m. ET; PRIME, FS-W+, NHL.TV)

Coyotes: At the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; ATTSN-RM, FS-A, NHL.TV)

Video: Lewis, Clifford lead Kings past Coyotes in 3-1 win

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