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Vrbata scores twice, Langkow gets game-winner as Coyotes beat Kings 3-2 in OT

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Radim Vrbata broke out of a scoring slump in a big way, then Daymond Langkow provided the dramatic finish. The result was a 3-2 overtime victory for the Phoenix Coyotes against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.

Vrbata scored twice, then had an assist on Langkow's game-winner with 43.7 seconds left in the extra session.

Langkow's shot from in front of the net bounced off the stick of Los Angeles defenceman Jack Johnson and past goalie Jonathan Quick to give Phoenix its third victory in four games.

"It was nothing fancy," Langkow said. "I saw a little opening there on the short side and just threw it."

Kings forward Dustin Brown called it "a weird play."

"The guy gets a stick on it at the last second and Quickie's in position, but it just finds a way," he said.

Vrbata had gone seven games without a goal.

"It's always frustrating, but you can't change your game too much," he said. "You have to keep playing your game."

Both of Vrbata's goals came on assists from Martin Hanzal.

"The first goal I was able to hold it for a little extra second there and get the open net," Vrbata said. "The second one was a nice pass from Marty."

Mike Richards and Anze Kopitar scored for the Kings, who had won five of six. Mike Smith made 36 saves for the Coyotes. Quick had 30.

"We played well enough to win the game," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "They had a player that stepped up big-time. Vrbata played a big-time game, two goals and set up the winning goal in overtime."

The Kings and Coyotes met for the second time in Arizona already this season. Los Angeles beat Phoenix 2-0 on Oct. 20. Phoenix's lone loss in the last four games was 3-2 in a shootout against Dallas on Monday.

The winning goal against Los Angeles came after a critical penalty kill, one of four by Phoenix in the game. Raffi Torres was called for interference with 13.6 seconds left in regulation, leaving the Coyotes a man short for the first 1:46 of overtime.

"I thought our guys did a real strong job," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We were in lanes and didn't give them any good looks. It's funny how you get rewarded after that."

The Coyotes took a 2-1 lead with a picture-perfect play. Hanzal, along the left boards near the top of the circle, passed across the ice directly in front of Quick. Vrbata was there to knock it to the goalie's left and into the net.

Phoenix killed its third penalty of the game early in the third period but, moments later, Smith blocked a shot from outside and Kopitar swatted in the rebound with 13 1/2 minutes left to tie it at 2. Kopitar's goal was his fifth of the season but first in the last 10 games against Phoenix.

Both teams had plenty of chances, with 12 shots apiece, and nothing to show for it in a scoreless first. Phoenix killed two penalties in the period.

But that all changed in the early minutes of the second.

Richards parked himself in front of the Phoenix net, then knocked the puck past Smith to put the Kings ahead 1-0 not quite three minutes into the period. Phoenix tied it 2 1/2 minutes later when Vrbata's shot from the bottom of the right circle went past a sprawling Quick at 5:26.

The Coyotes' goal was their first against Los Angeles in five periods this season.

After Vrbata's second goal, a skirmish left the Kings' Brad Richardson and Phoenix's Keith Yandle in the penalty box for roughing. Moments later, Drew Doughty was called for holding, giving Phoenix a 4-on-3 advantage. But the Coyotes could not capitalize and it remained 2-1 after two.

Vrbata has three goals this season, and Hanzal six assists.

NOTES: Phoenix has killed off 34 of his last 37 penalties. ... Kings left wing Simon Gagne did not play because of an undisclosed injury. ... Los Angeles activated Doughty from the injured reserve list. The 21-year-old defenceman had missed five games with an upper body injury. To make room, the Kings reassigned defenceman Slava Voynov to their Monarch AHL affiliate. ... The Coyotes reacquired forward Brett MacLean, claiming him off waivers from Winnipeg. He was assigned to Phoenix's Portland AHL affiliate.



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