Arizona Coyotes jumped on the Los Angeles Kings early, struggled later, but hung on to defeat the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night at Staples Center.
The Arizona Coyotes (19-15-5 43 pts) retained their 4th place position as a result of their win over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night. Thanks in large part to Michael Bunting ( 4G 1A 5 pts in 4 games), the Coyotes latest hat trick producer, the Yotes were able to jump on the Kings pretty quickly and ultimately hang on to win game #39.
What didn’t happen, however, was sustaining their effort for a full 60 minutes. The Los Angeles Kings didn’t come out with much intensity from the get-go and the Coyotes capitalized on it. Defenseman Drew Doughty, who scored LA’s first goal on a power play, said in a post-game interview last night that he was disappointed with the Kings’ lack of effort in the first two periods. I think the same can be said about the Desert Dogs’ play as the game wore on.
The Coyotes had a difficult time gaining their “O” zone and then remaining there for any length of time. The “swarming the net” style that enabled the Yotes to achieve those early goals was nearly gone. Were you one of the fans that thought the Coyotes inexplicably withdrew from their attacking style (which had obviously paid off earlier), played more in the neutral zone, and later in the game had a “prevent defense” mentality?
There was positive buzz after the game about Michael Bunting’s hat trick and about third-string netminder Adin Hill having to practically stand on his head to keep the puck out of the net, and rightfully so.
There was still concern, however, that the Arizona boys lost a bit of their structure and wandered away from what they do best – play consistent, disciplined hockey. Early in the third period, the Kings came out firing, pummeling Hill with shots from various angles. Their newly enacted aggressiveness kept the Coyotes on their heels, and at times it seemed like the Colorado Avalanche was on the ice. Miraculously enough goalkeeper Adin Hill (6 and 1 in past 7 starts) and the Yotes team defense was somehow able to keep the L.A. sharpshooters off the board after the KIngs had scored only 2. Kudos to them.
We should expect the L.A. Kings to come out very aggressively on Wednesday night. Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Dustin Brown et al will insist on it and set the example for the rest. Thus, the Coyotes have to be ready to counter that assault with an effective attack of their own. Tomorrow’s game will be nastier, more physical.
Scoreboard watching is now in full swing, and most fans know the Coyotes have benefited nicely by winning their past three games, while the St. Louis Blues have lost 3 in a row. The Blues remain entrenched at 38 points, while the Yotes have garnered 6 out of 6 and sit with 43 points. On their heels, however, and now tied with St. Louis for 5th place, are the San Jose Sharks, (17-16-4 38 pts) who have won 4 game in a row and are 6-3-1 in their past 10 games.
Let’s hope that the streaking Coyotes can make the necessary adjustments tomorrow night and snatch the next two points from the Kings at the end of Game #40 at Staples Center. Let’s go Coyotes!