The Arizona Coyotes played a well-structured, focused, no-frills game and beat the dangerous Los Angeles Kings 3 to 0 Monday night at Gila River Arena.
You can pretty much guarantee an action-packed, physical game whenever the Los Angeles Kings and Coyotes get together for their Pacific Division matchups, and last night was no different.
From the opening face-off, play continued without a whistle being blown until Conor Garland scored his 10th goal of the season. A twisting Christian Dvorak assisted on the goal by dishing a highlight reel caliber back-handed pass to Garland, who was approaching the net from the circle to the goalkeeper’s left.
The Coyotes had already established their relentless forecheck earlier in the game, which wreaked havoc in the Kings’ “D” zone. The Coyotes sustained the pressure in the Kings’ end by having their “D” men supporting from the points while the forwards cycled around the area of the Kings’ net.
This, my friends, is the Coyote hockey we all love to see: Skating with urgency from within the “D” zone as a unit, cruising into and through the neutral zone intact and at speed, and then into the “O” zone via crisp, tape-to-tape passes, with the intent to fire countless unstoppable shots at the opposing goalie! The ‘Yotes were relentless in outnumbering the Kings in each of the three zones throughout the night.
The Coyotes power play was much better organized too, highlighted by the unit’s evident sense of purpose. A series of swift, controlled passes made it difficult for the Kings’ defense to keep up. As a result, the desert dogs were rewarded with two goals in their 4 power play opportunities.
The Coyotes nearly played a tactically-flawless game throughout the contest with one exception: Penalties. The desert dogs gave the Kings’ power play unit several chances to get back into the game by committing undisciplined penalties. Fortunately for the Coyotes, the L.A. team was never able to convert on those attempts even though Anze Kopitar was constantly lurking in the Coyotes’ “D” zone with bad intentions.
The Coyotes performance against the Kings was impressive and showed that their blue collar, “let’s take care of business” style of play can be effective if they stay focused. The team proved it certainly has the right combination of personnel to implement it and to carry it out!
Let’s hope that the Coyotes can replicate their outstanding 60 minute performance displayed Monday again on Thursday when they host the Auston Matthews-led Toronto Maple Leafs at Gila River Arena. One game at a time boys!
Let’s go Coyotes!