Phoenix Coyotes 3, Kings 2 (OT)
Eight keys to the game:
THE FACTS: The Coyotes killed off the remainder of a 4-on-3 power play to start overtime and then scored the game winner with 44 seconds left when Daymond Langkow's shot deflected off the stick of Kings defenseman Jack Johnson and hit the net Saturday night at Jobing.com Arena in Phoenix.
THE STAT: Radim Vrbata assisted on the game winner and also scored the first two goals for the Coyotes. Vrbata now has 12 goals in 33 career games against the Kings, the most damage he has done against any team in the NHL.
TURNING POINT: The Kings won two other games this season on 4-on-3 power plays in overtime but were unable to capitalize against Phoenix. The Coyotes then set up the winning goal when Vrbata carried the puck down the left side with Kings defenseman Alec Martinez on his hip. He spotted Langkow cutting through the slot and Langkow’s shot from a tough angle got a piece of Johnson’s stick and went high into the net.
HOT: Mike Richards scored his second goal of the season for the Kings to give them a 1-0 lead early in the second period. Richards has points in six of the last seven games.
NOT: The Kings played without top-line left wing Simon Gagne, who was out with an undisclosed injury. Dustin Penner took his spot on the No. 1 line but clearly wasn’t up for the challenge and was demoted to the third line at the start of the third period. Penner has gone 21 consecutive regular-season games without a goal. The Kings were also 0-for-4 on the power play.
GOOD MOVE: With Penner struggling, Kings coach Terry Murray moved Trent Hunter and Brad Richardson up to the top line with Anze Kopitar in the third period and they combined to tie the score, 2-2. Hunter’s slap shot was saved by Phoenix goalie Mike Smith but the rebound came out to Kopitar who tucked it into the net 6 ½ minutes into the final period.
BAD MOVE: With the score tied, 1-1, late in the second period, the Coyotes won a faceoff in the Kings offensive zone. Kings forward Justin Williams got caught behind the play and Martin Hanzel made a clean pass to a wide open Vrbata who scored his second goal of the game for a 2-1 lead.
NOTABLE: Johnson, who was a team-best plus-6 coming into the game, finished a team-low minus-3. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty returned after missing the last five games with a shoulder injury.
UP NEXT: Sunday vs. the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center 5 p.m. (PT).