LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings finally did it; they won at home.
The Kings won two of their first five games, but they were still looking for their first home win as they took the ice versus the Arizona Coyotes. They did not win any of their first three home games, securing just one point in a shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. But against the Coyotes, they finally won, 6-3.
The Kings scored three goals in the first period after conceding first and never looked back. 8:13 into the first period, Kevin Fiala placed Anze Kopitar with a well-placed pass, and Kopitar scored. The goal came on a power play and was Kopitar’s third goal of the season, making the game 1-1. Then, 10:35 into the first period, Trevor Lewis put away a deflected pass, giving the Kings a 2-1 lead. Finally, 12:34 into the first period, Phillip Danault found Trevor Moore at the back post, and Moore scored, giving them a 3-1 lead.
The Kings held on to their lead by adding four goals throughout the rest of the game while only allowing three.
7:39 into the second period, Drew Doughty intercepted a pass in the offensive zone and passed it to Blake Lizzote, who scored, giving the Kings a 4-2 lead.
5:35 into the third period, Fiala tapped in the puck after Vladislav Gavrikov’s shot squeezed through Coyotes goalkeeper Karel Vejmelka’s legs to make the score 5-3.
“He’s so good visually with all his passes and stuff, but he has a tremendous shot,” said head coach Todd McLellan about Fiala. “And you know, his goal was the shortest shot he’ll probably take all year. [About] two inches, but you gotta go get those in those areas.”
The Kings’ final goal was an empty net goal scored by Adrian Kempe.
After defeating the Coyotes, the Kings had more reason to celebrate as Mikey Anderson played his 200th NHL game. He added one assist to his career total of 34 (now 35) assists against the Coyotes. The Kings also stayed third in the Pacific Division with seven points as the Vancouver Canucks.
Also notable was Phoenix Copley, who returned to the goal for his second season start and limited the Coyotes to three goals. He saved 24 of 27 shots.
“I thought we made some mistakes in the third [period] that our goaltender had to cover up,” McLellan said. “We gave them opportunities off of our power play, not short-handed chances, but we put them on a couple of high-sticking calls. Deep into our power play, all of a sudden, they’re going on it, and we had to rely on the goaltender in that situation and some good penalty killers to get the job done.”
The Kings killed three of four power plays against a Coyotes team that ranked in the top ten among NHL teams in power play percentage coming into Tuesday. They also matched them, scoring during one of their four power plays.
“Penalty kill performed fairly well; we gave one up against a real good power play. We knew that that was part of their bread and butter,” McLellan said.
Next, the Kings face the Coyotes again on Friday with a chance to win again against them. However, their next matchup is in Arizona.