LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Jonathan Bernier expected the desperate Phoenix Coyotes to throw everything they had at him in an attempt to end a long scoring drought.
The Los Angeles goalie was more than ready for the onslaught.
Bernier made a career-high 40 saves, defenceman Drew Doughty scored for the first time in 33 regular-season games, and the Kings beat the Coyotes 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan scored twice in the third period for Phoenix, which was shut out in three straight games for the first time in the franchise’s 33-year history. One was a 4-0 loss to the Kings on Monday.
“I thought they were very good the whole game, and we knew that was going to happen,” Bernier said. “When you don’t score for three games, you’re just going to try to shoot everything at the net. I thought we were very good on rebounds and stayed solid in the middle. I don’t think our forecheck was at its best, but we found a way to stick with it.”
Bernier extended Phoenix’s scoreless drought to 245 minutes, 32 seconds since rookie Rob Klinkhammer’s goal against Jonathan Quick in the Coyotes’ 5-2 win over the Kings on March 12.
The Coyotes had been stopped on 133 consecutive shots before Doan’s first goal, scored on a deflection of Keith Yandle’s wrist shot from the left point with 8:32 remaining and the teams skating 4-on-4.
“When you haven’t scored in three games, you’re going to get pretty desperate,” said Doan, who added his 11th of the season with 41 seconds to play. “We were desperate enough, but we didn’t find a way to do it. I think if you play that game nine more times, we probably win it eight times.
“That’s why they’re the Stanley Cup champions. They found a way to win that game.”
Dustin Penner and Jarret Stoll also found the net for the Kings, who have won 12 of 16 games and 11 of 12 at home. Stoll connected on a power play with 6:14 remaining while Derek Morris was serving an interference penalty.
Bernier has won seven of his eight starts—not counting a 6-4 win over St. Louis that Quick won in relief.
The frustrated Coyotes outshot the Kings 11-0 over the first 9 minutes of the third period. Bernier made a rebound save against Steve Sullivan with about 13 1-2 minutes remaining and lost his stick on the play. He played almost a minute with defenceman Slava Voynov’s stick before play stopped.
“Slava gave Bernie his stick, and then I gave mine to Slava,” Stoll said. “I think you can probably get away with that up top with no stick and get lucky, but defencemen and goaltenders need sticks.
“I think the last three games on the penalty-kill we’ve gotten caught breaking sticks or moving sticks. So that was quite a sequence.”
Mike Smith, who was pulled from Monday’s game after giving up four goals on 22 shots, made 26 saves in the rematch against an offence that came in averaging four goals at home.
The Coyotes, who entered averaging 9.5 shots in the first period, outshot Los Angeles 15-10. Penner scored the only goal of the period at 14:38, converting Justin Williams’ backhanded pass from behind the net.
“We knew that they’d come out hard, and we just didn’t handle it like we would have liked. But that’s when you need your goaltender,” Stoll said. “Bernie was great like Quickie was last night. We didn’t have our ‘A’ game, so to speak, but we got the four points we needed.”
Doughty, whose previous regular-season goal was last March 30, beat Smith high to the glove side with a slap shot from the left circle at 6:28 of the second period for a 2-0 lead. Doughty scored four goals in last year’s playoffs.
“It was good to get that first one off my back,” said Doughty, who scored on his 65th shot of the season. “I’m kind of a streaky scorer, so I’m hoping I can get on a little roll now. I’ve had a lot of good chances, especially tonight—about five or six that could have gone in.
“It’s good that I’m getting those chances. Now I’ve just got to bear down and put them by the goalie.”
Doan was cut down by Kings rookie defenceman Jake Muzzin on a knee-to-knee open-ice hit in the Kings’ zone late in the second period. He took a few seconds to get back to his feet, then tried to get at Muzzin before the linesmen intervened. No penalties were called.
NOTES: Kings coach Darryl Sutter earned his 451st regular-season victory, tying his brother Brian for 22nd place on the NHL list. … The Coyotes hadn’t scored on the road in 296 minutes, 50 seconds, dating to Kyle Chipchura’s empty-net goal on Feb. 26. … Coyotes RW Radim Vrbata was activated from the injured list after missing 14 games because of a lower body injury. RW David Moss missed his first game of the season, sitting out for the same reason. … The only players who haven’t scored for the Kings this season are D Keaton Ellerby and C Brad Richardson, who has been a healthy scratch for 27 of the team’s first 29 games. Ellerby hasn’t had one since March 11, 2011, while he was with Florida Panthers. … The Kings are 12-2-1 at home this season and 12-1-1 when they score first.