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Phoenix finally foils Quick, Kings in 3-2 win

by Jerry Brown /
GLENDALE, Ariz. –- After scoring two of their prettiest goals of the season to snap a scoring drought against the Kings and Jonathan Quick, Phoenix's game-winner Saturday was Coyote ugly. But no one in the Phoenix dressing room, least of all goal-scorer Daymond Langkow, was quibbling over style points.
Langkow's angled, wobbly effort took a fortuitous deflection off a stick and snuck through Quick with 43.7 seconds left in overtime to lift the Coyotes past Los Angeles 3-2 and give them their third win in the last four games.
"It thought it went off Quick's stick, but I don't really care as long as it went in," said Langkow, who had gone five games without a goal and failed to convert on several opportunities earlier in the game. "I've had chances in a lot of these games but the puck seems to be bouncing off my stick. You can't get frustrated because that just makes it worse. You have to keep working and hope your luck will even out."
Radim Vrbata snapped a seven-game scoreless streak of his own with a pair of goals in the second period for the Coyotes, who had lost four straight to Los Angeles including once at home on Oct. 20. Phoenix also won for the first time this season when allowing the first goal of the game (1-3-0). Goalie Mike Smith made 37 saves -- including several in critical late-game and overtime situations -- to get the win in goal for Phoenix.
Since coach Dave Tippett reunited Ray Whitney with Vrbata and Martin Hanzal on Thursday against New Jersey, that trio has combined for five of Phoenix's eight goals and 11 points between them.

"The puck hasn't been going in for me, but putting a familiar face like Whits on the line has changed things up and we've been very comfortable," said Vrbata, who had two assists against the Devils. "The chemistry is just there. We know each other and where we are going to be on the ice. I think all three of us enjoy it."
Mike Richards scored in the second period for the Kings before Anze Kopitar tied the game with 13:30 left in regulation to force overtime. After giving up just 10 goals on their first seven games, Los Angeles has allowed nine in the last three.
 "We had a lot of good chances and we probably gave them more than we normally do," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "We played good enough to get two points and we didn't, so we'll take one and move on to Colorado (Sunday)."

 The Coyotes can thank their penalty-killing unit for their second two-game winning streak of the season. The unit stopped the Kings on all four chances, including the first 1:46 of overtime, and have now killed 34 of the last 37 enemy power plays (91.8 percent), dating back to the season opener on Oct. 8 in San Jose. Vrbata and Hanzal have had a hand in that, too, as the two forwards who play most frequently on the kill unit.
"Our PK was awesome, especially killing a 4-on-3 against that team because they have so much firepower," Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle said. "Since the first game when that unit struggled, they have been really good. They pressure really hard and give the opposition very little time to handle the puck. We're aggressive, and as a guy who's on the power play for our team, those are the PK units that give you trouble."

Quick, who had three shutouts last week -- including a 2-0 blanking of the Coyotes in Glendale nine days ago -- has now allowed six goals in his last two games.
After a scoreless first period, Richards – who had eight assists but only one goal in nine games with L.A. -- was waiting off the left post when Brown found him for a one-timer 2:58 into the second. But the Coyotes responded minutes later, finally solving Quick.

Vrbata, who hadn't scored since Oct. 10 in Dallas, was waiting in the middle at 5:36 when Hanzal found him from behind the net. Vrbata patiently waited for both Quick and Kopitar to sprawl on the ice before wristing the puck over both. It was the first goal Phoenix had scored on Quick in 85:36 of action this year -- but it didn't take nearly as long for the second one.

Ten minutes later, Phoenix defenseman Rostislav Klesla found Hanzal on the fly in the neutral zone down the left side, and he pushed a cross-ice pass that found Vrbata in stride at the far post for the tip in to give the Coyotes their first lead of the night. Hanzal now has six points (three goals, three assists) in his last four games.

Phoenix killed off an early Los Angeles power play in the third period, but the Kings evened seconds later. Smith stopped Trent Hunter's shot, but the rebound popped up and landed in the slot, where Kopitar flipped in the backhand at 6:30. It was Kopitar's fourth goal of the year and his first in the last 10 games against the Coyotes.
"We had our moments in the game that were really good, and then at the end we had problems getting out of our own end," Los Angeles coach Terry Murray said. "Then in the third period, at a critical time, there was no forecheck at all."
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