A band of the Kings top prospects bounced back with a 3-1 win over the Coyotes rookies in their second meeting in two days at Gila River Arena on Wednesday after losing the previous meeting 4-1. The Kings came out hard and outmuscled the Coyotes to take control of the game and never really let go. Even though the Coyotes tied up the game at 1-1, there was never really any doubt that the Kings wouldn’t be victorious. Nick Shore showed off his qualities once again in the defensive zone and Valentin Zykov got the game-winning goal.
The rookie Kings set the tone early in the opening act by banging bodies left and right. This lead to a lot of offensive zone time for Los Angeles and Brendan Burke in the Coyotes net was tested right away. Roland McKoewn had several good attempts from the blue line.
The pressure the Kings put on resulted in a 1-0 lead with 7:07 to go when Spencer Watson wrested a shot into the back of net on a 2-on-1 situation. Watson show great skill to put the puck high on Burke’s glove hand side.
Kings kept the pressure on, but despite that the Coyotes managed to tie the game up late in the period when Brendan Perlini, Coyotes 1st round pick in the 2014 draft, knocked it past Patrik Bartosak after a nice feed by Christian Dvorak. Just like the Kings opening goal, this was the result of a 2-on-1 situation.
In the second period, Los Angeles kept up the intensity of the first and regained the lead after a little over three minutes thanks to great awareness in front of the net by Valentin Zykov who buried a rebound behind Burke.
The first fight of the game came just a minute later asCoyotes forward Yan-Pavel LaPlante and Kings let winger Vincent Arseneau threw down in a rather epic fight. The players traded punches for what seemed to be an eternity and got cheers from the fans and the teams as the headed to the penalty boxes.
Kings had control over the game and the few times the Coyotes got into the offensive zone the Kings forecheck with Nick Shore leading the way took care of business. Tony Capobianco switched off with Bartosak halfway though the period and did not see much action in front of him.
People were treated to another fight when Coyotes Dyson Stevenson and Kings defenseman Kurtis MacDermid decided it was time to drop the gloves with 4:41 to go in the period.
The standard of play dropped off in the third period as players got noticeably tired, but Kings still managed to keep the Coyotes at bay and limit the chances allowed. Adam Brown replaced Burke in the Coyotes net to start the period, and he was by far the busier goaltender in the final period.
Kings tactics of being more aggressive and physical really worked to their benefit as the Coyotes looked rather weak going forward.
Auger had a great opportunity on the power play for the Kings but is shot hit the outside of the post. Michael Mersch made it 3-1 Kings with an empty net goal with 1:25 remaining of the game.
After the game, we collected the following quotes from the Kings locker room:
Nick Shore on the difference between Kings physical play in Game 1 and 2:
“We were able to get a lot of pucks deep and generate scoring chances from that. The game plan was the same, we just executed better.”
Shore on the Kings penalty kill:
“It’s a new system for most of the guys, but it’s obviously gonna be a big focus. You always want to keep the of the board if you do that you get some momentum.”
Shore on his personal progress and the prospect of challenging for a roster spot:
“Obviously the Kings are a great team, so I think going in to camp here the only goal is to play the best you can and keep getting better as it goes on.”
Valentin Zykov talking about Game 1 and 2 against the Coyotes rookies:
“First game we got off to a slow start, a little bit shaky. Second game we bounced back, pushed hard and got the win.”
Zykov on his goal:
“Easy. Well not easy, but just get the rebound and get the job done.”
Zykov on what he has been working on during the summer:
“Mostly skating and my shot. You got to be a good skater in the NHL and have a good shot.”
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