After the first period:
Kings 0, Phoenix Coyotes 0
The good: The fans are getting their money’s worth here at Staples Center. Four fights involving some of the most high-profile players on both teams, some great scoring chances for both sides and even better goaltending kept this scoreless after one. The energy hit the fan when Kings captain Dustin Brown laid out Phoenix defenseman Rostislav Kesla with an open-ice hit 4 minutes 34 seconds into the game. Kesla stayed on the ice for several minutes before making his way slowing to the locker room. Brown stayed out for the faceoff and immediately dropped gloves with Shane Doan of the Coyotes in a captain vs. captain scrap. Brad Richardson couldn’t capitalize on two good shots from the left faceoff circle, Justin Williams had breakaway on a power play stuffed by Phoenix goalie Mike Smith and Drew Doughty rang a slap shot off the post on the same man advantage. Not long after the power play ended, Phoenix defenseman Adrian Aucoin drove Brown into Kings center Anze Kopitar as all three crashed the crease. Kopitar knocked Smith into the net, causing Smith to respond with a bear hug on Kopitar. Both fell behind the Phoenix net and every player on the ice except Kings goalie Jonathan Quick dove in to create one massive man pile. Aucoin got the extra two minutes for interfering on Brown. Before the power played ended, Kings center Mike Richards dropped gloves with Coyotes center Martin Hanzal, then Colin Fraser of the Kings, someone more accustomed to this type of stuff, tangled with Raffi Torres to round out the period with a combined 40 penalty minutes.
The bad: The Kings might have won that period in mind, body and spirit, but they again didn’t score any goals. Richardson and Williams had the best opportunities. If they continue to get those looks, one has got to get through.
The in between: The Kings have the right lineup in place for this type of game. Kevin Westgarth, the resident enforcer, is back on the fourth line in place of Trent Hunter, and defenseman Davis Drewiske, one of the more physical blue liners for the Kings, is in for Alec Martinez, a dangerous shot on the power play but not one to throw his body around. Oh, and somewhat less surprising, Dustin Penner and his $4.25-million salary are healthy scratches for the third straight game.