Prior to the game, Coyotes forward Ray Whitney referred to match-ups with the Kings as ‘muck fests’ and usually filled with tight, defensive-oriented hockey. Kings defenseman Jack Johnson went so far as to say the games can be boring to watch, with Phoenix lulling teams to sleep.
Neither was the case in the first period, which featured three separate fights – surprisingly, none of them involving Kevin Westgarth or Paul Bissonnette. Things returned to normal though in the second period when the teams combined for 13 shots on goal. In the end, the visiting Coyotes shutout the Kings 1-0 to pull even with them in the Western Conference standings.
After the game, here’s what they were saying back in the locker room…
Captain Shane Doan:
– On the overall game – “It was great. It’s one of those games that you love to play in and you really like to win. It was a big one for us…Everyone realized how big of a game it was and how important it was for us to find a way to win. They’re ahead of us in the standings, they got the position we want, and everybody is chasing everybody right now”
– On his fight with Dustin Brown – “It’s one of those things, it’s part of the game and Brownie plays that way all the time. He hits hard. Both sides are trying to set the tone and he was more than willing and it’s part of the game. ” (note: you can watch the scrap here)
Goalie Mike Smith:
On his focus after taking a penalty for mixing it up with Anze Kopitar – “I made sure I didn’t because you’re right, you can kind of rally and then get thrown off your game, but I knew this was an important game and there was no time to get mentally rattled. Just tried to stay focused and worry about the next shot.”
Coach Dave Tippett:
On the overall game – “That was a very competitive game. We knew they were going to be competitive. We had to make sure that our team was very competitive. We talked about the importance of this game and where we are in the standings and where they are in the standings. We have to be all in if we’re going to have a chance at winning this game and I thought we were all in. Good effort… We played a smart hard game and we found a way to win.”
On Doan’s fight with Brown – “It speaks volumes about Shane Doan and the rest of our group and how they care for each other and want to stick up for each other. They’re willing to go to battle for each other. That’s just part of the game and it’s a part of the game that I think is entrenched in all these players. When you play the game of hockey you stick up for your teammates and that’s what that was all about.”
It was interesting that Doan and Brown squared off, as prior to the game, Tippett had come on MayorsManor to talk about comparisons between the two captains. You can read his full comments here.
Also, Coyotes forward Ray Whitney was a pre-game guest and he had plenty to say about the upcoming trade deadline (link). It sure sounds as if he’ll be leaving to a contender. But, the Coyotes are in a playoff spot themselves. They can’t possibly trade him, can they?