GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Phoenix Coyotes gave the Kings’ Drew Doughty an open look at the goal. He buried the chance.
Doughty scored the go-ahead goal with 4:51 remaining and Los Angeles rallied to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 5-3 Monday night. “No one on their team tried to block my shot so I had a whole lane to the net,” Doughty said. “I just put it where the goalie wasn’t and luckily it didn’t get blocked or hit a stick.”
Ryan Smyth scored twice, Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists, and Justin Williams also scored for the Kings, who won for the first time in five games this season when trailing after two periods. Los Angeles snapped a two-game losing skid.
“I thought we had a little lull there in the second,” Smyth said. “We took the lead but we built some character in this locker room tonight going into the third and I think that was a big step.”
Smyth said the Kings were inspired by coach Terry Murray’s harsh talk during the second intermission.
“Play better,” Murray said when asked the theme of his talk. “The second period we had a lot of trouble getting through the neutral zone. We needed better puck management. Sometimes players have to be reminded of it.”
Shane Doan , Martin Hanzal and Scottie Upshall scored for the Coyotes, who had their three-game winning streak snapped but received better news off the ice.
Earlier Monday, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Redfield T. Baum approved the Coyotes’ sale to the NHL with the league intending to find a buyer committed to keeping the franchise in Glendale. The conclusion of the team’s bankruptcy proceedings didn’t help the Coyotes avoid a franchise-record low announced crowd of 5,855.
Upshall gave Phoenix a 3-1 lead at 14:44 of the second period, taking a backhand pass from Robert Lang and sliding the puck between Jonathan Quick’s pads.
But then the Kings stormed back for their first win in three games against the Coyotes.
“We got into the third period up 3-1 and hopefully we could push that gain along but that wasn’t the case,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “They came at us hard and we didn’t do a very good job of defending and didn’t do a good job of executing to get any opportunities from out end.”
Smyth pulled the Kings to 3-2, taking a shot from the right side that trickled under Jason LaBarbera and along the goal line and then skating around the back of the and tapping the puck into the open left side.
“I made a bad play at the end of the period and it kind of changed momentum there,” LaBarbera said. “I think that was the turning point in this game.”
Williams, playing his first game after missing the past five with a lower-body injury, tied the game 3-all with 13:16 remaining on a backhand shot just inside the left post.
Doughty capped the comeback on a shot from the high slot off a pass from Wayne Simmonds. Smyth added an empty-netter with 39 seconds to go.
Kopitar gave the Kings a 1-0 lead at 15:59 of the first period, taking advantage of a partial screen by Smyth to beat LaBarbera from the bottom of the right faceoff circle.
Doan tied the game with 1.7 seconds left in the period, tipping Ed Jovanovski ‘s shot over Quick’s right shoulder for a power-play goal.
Phoenix extended its lead to 2-1 just 37 seconds into the second when Doan looped a pass off the outstretched glove of defenseman Jack Johnson and onto the stick of Hanzal, who scored on a quick wrist shot from the left circle.
“We were not good enough, not even close,” Doan said. “We have to be better at home. At home we don’t think we’ve played our best hockey and that’s frustrating and disappointing.”
NOTES: Los Angeles had not won after trailing after two periods since a 3-2 win at Boston on March 19. The Coyotes set franchise record-low attendance marks in each of their past two games. There were 6,495 at Jobing.com Arena for Phoenix’s 3-2 shootout win over Anaheim on Saturday. Phoenix RW Peter Mueller was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. Upshall’s goal was the 50th of his career.