Following a tough yet impressive 7 games against the St. Louis Blues, the Arizona Coyotes have imploded and lost a pair at home to the Los Angeles Kings at Gila River Arena.
The Los Angeles Kings sauntered into Gila River Arena this week, apparently under the Coyotes’ radar, having won two straight games. They left Saturday evening with a four-game winning streak, 17 points, a game in hand on the Coyotes, and a share of fourth place in the Honda West Division. Truth be told, the Kings belong in fourth place all by themselves based on their rapid rise up the standings and the beat down they administered on the home team at GRA, which is the polar opposite of what we’re witnessing in the Desert Dogs’ spiral into mediocrity. Some may say that those words are overly dramatic, but are they?
The Coyotes have been notoriously known for their inconsistency since the dawn of time, and they showed everyone “Exhibit A” again this week against the Kings. They were beaten by a team that was better prepared and able to play some pretty darn impressive road hockey. With the Yotes, you never know what iteration of the team will take the ice on any given night and possibly under-perform when they instead need to play consistently well for 60 minutes and win their home games.
I might suggest at this point that it sure seemed like a home game for the L.A. Kings on Saturday, as they played well enough to win before a large and boisterous crowd of Kings fans chanting “Let’s go Kings” throughout the game. Embarrassingly enough, the Coyotes fans didn’t match the intensity of the Kings fans from the very beginning. Maybe that was because they didn’t see much to cheer for or get enthused about. After all, what the Coyotes offered on the ice was a mixed bag of pros and cons.
To their credit, Tyler Pitlick seemed everywhere on the ice and played his butt off. Derik Brassard, who scored a goal, was quite animated in his play too, and Phil Kessel was more aggressive on Saturday night than he has been in a while on both ends of the ice and had a goal and an assist. Oliver Ekman-Larsson had assists on both of the Coyotes’ goals.
On the flip side, Oliver Ekman-Larsson was called for a hooking penalty in the second period and the Kings scored a power play goal shortly thereafter. The Kings later scored a short-handed goal 52 seconds into the third period and the Yotes never scored on that power play. The Coyotes were subsequently called for a delay of game penalty and then for too many men on the ice.
Now, the Anaheim Ducks have come to Arizona to play the Coyotes on Monday and Wednesday nights. They are in eighth place in the division and have played 18 games, but are only 2 points behind the helter-skelter Desert Dogs with 15 points. Let’s hope that the Coyotes can make the necessary adjustments to right the ship and beat the Ducks.