Sean Avery scored the tying goal with 38 seconds left in regulation, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown connected in the shootout, and the Los Angeles Kings beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 Tuesday night in a matchup of bottom two teams in the Pacific Division. Derek Armstrong had a goal and an assist and Rob Blake scored on a power play for the Kings, who ended a four-game losing streak in front of their fourth sellout crowd of the season after outshooting Phoenix 6-0 in overtime.
Los Angeles goalie Barry Brust, who made his NHL debut at Phoenix on Nov. 30, stopped 28 shots in the rematch and all three he faced in the shootout. Kings coach Marc Crawford gave Brust the nod after Dan Cloutier allowed 15 goals over the previous three games.
“It was a great crowd tonight and it was great to see that they get a little bit of a payoff as well as our team because, Lord knows, we’ve been a tough team to love lately,” Crawford said.
Fredrik Sjostrom and Oleg Saprykin scored 77 seconds apart in the third period, Yanic Perreault had a goal and an assist and Owen Nolan had two assists for the Coyotes. Mikael Tellqvist made 34 saves after stopping 29 shots in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over the league-leading Anaheim Ducks.
“It’s a tough point to give up, knowing how valuable they are to us with the situation we’re in,” Phoenix captain Shane Doan said. “We felt we had every opportunity to win that game.”
The Kings tied it when Michael Cammalleri batted down a fluttering puck and passed it to Kopitar at the right side of the net. The rookie then fed the puck blindly between his legs into the low slot, and Avery was there to sweep it past Tellqvist’s stick for his seventh goal.
Brust denied Mike Zigomanis and Mike Comrie in the shootout. Tellqvist stopped Alexander Frolov, but Kopitar scored on a wrist shot off the left post. Brown’s short wrist shot struck Tellqvist’s stick and hopped over his left shoulder into the net.
“It was just good to get the win,” Brown said. “We battled back. We kept plugging away and it paid off for us. We’re just keying on keeping it simple and playing the same game all the way through.”
The Coyotes, who came in averaging a league-worst 19.0 penalty minutes, were burned the second time they were short-handed. Dennis Seidenberg was serving a holding penalty when Blake converted Frolov’s centring pass from close range to give the Kings a 2-1 lead.
“It’s unfortunate we couldn’t win it in regulation after we got that lead,” Brust said. “But we were a resilient bunch tonight.”
The Kings, who accumulated a season-high 54 penalty minutes Saturday in a 7-0 loss at Nashville, didn’t need their penalty-killing unit against Phoenix until Armstrong was sent off for holding with 8:10 to play. But the Coyotes cashed in 38 seconds later on their only power play of the game.
Sjostrom redirected Zbynek Michalek’s shot from the left point over Brust’s left shoulder after Kings defenceman Mattias Norstrom was muscled off the puck in the left corner. Saprykin put the Coyotes ahead 3-2 when he converted Perreault’s pass from behind the net for his eighth goal.
“We could have just packed it in and quit right there, but we didn’t,” Brust said. “It’s always nice when you can tie it up in the last minute – and we were all over them in overtime as well.”
Armstrong tied it at 1 with 15:27 left in regulation. He passed the puck to Brent Sopel in the high slot, then headed to the net and was in perfect position to convert the rebound after Sopel sent a 45-foot wrist shot into a wall of players in front of the crease.
Notes: All five of the Kings’ shootouts have been at Staples Center. … The Coyotes haven’t scored a first-period goal in four consecutive games. … Frolov, the Kings’ leading goal scorer, hasn’t scored in eight straight games after getting 11 goals in his previous 11 contests.