Kopitar scores twice, Kings rally for 5-3 win over Coyotes
LOS ANGELES (AP) — After a rough 48-hour stretch that saw them give up nine goals Tuesday and one of their goaltenders placed on waivers Wednesday, Anze Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings knew they would have to dig deep to prevent things from spiraling even further.
Kopitar and his teammates responded, but they had to handle more adversity in order to do so.
Kopitar scored twice, including the go-ahead goal in the third period, as the Kings rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Arizona Coyotes 5-3 on Thursday night.
“I don’t know about a statement game, but I thought our energy was there right off the start,” said Kopitar after the Kings won their fourth game of the season when tied or trailing after two periods.
Trevor Moore, Carl Grundstrom and Kevin Fiala also tallied goals for the Kings, who had dropped five of six coming into the game, including a crazy 9-8 overtime defeat against Seattle on Tuesday.
Jonathan Quick stopped 18 shots. Quick improved to 8-6-2 on the season and will be handling nearly all the games in net barring injury. Cal Petersen cleared waivers Thursday and was loaned to the Kings’ AHL affiliate.
Kopitar gave the Kings their first lead 5:22 into the third period on a 4-on-4 situation. Kopitar skated the puck into the zone, deked J.J. Moser and beat Karel Vejmelka far side for his fourth goal in the last four games.
Los Angeles also had a pair of power-play goals, marking the first time since March of 2017 it has scored multiple times with the man advantage in three straight games.
“We handled the third well,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “We were patient. We didn’t play out of our skin to try and win. And then you knew they were going to have a push near the end, and we defended pretty well.”
Matias Maccelli had a goal and an assist for Arizona while Christian Fischer and Nick Bjugstad also scored. Patrik Nemeth had a pair of assists.
Vejmelka made 27 saves as Arizona dropped to 4-5-2 on its 14-game road trip.
The Coyotes had a 3-1 lead 8 minutes into the second period on goals by Maccelli and Bjugstad before the Kings rallied. Moore scored on the power play at 9:09 and Grundstrom evened it with 1:31 to go in the period with a snap shot from the faceoff circle that went between Vejmelka’s legs.
“It’s frustrating when you don’t make the simple play and turn it over. That’s when they come and they score and they win. We just have to tighten up defensively,” Fischer said.
Fischer opened the scoring at 12:45 of the first period when he took advantage of Sean Durzi’s turnover in the Kings’ zone and scored on a breakaway for Arizona’s third short-handed goal of the season.
The Kings evened it 36 seconds later while still on the power play as Kopitar buried a slap shot from the right faceoff circle.
Coyotes: Arizona is tied with New Jersey for most short-handed goals on the road with three. … Forward Lawson Crouse did not play due to illness.
Kings: Samuel Fagemo was called up for the first time this season and picked up his first NHL point with an assist on Grundstrom’s goal. Fagemo, a second-round pick in 2019, played in four games last season. … Fiala had an assist on Kopitar’s first goal for his 20th of the season. He reached that mark in his 26th game with the Kings, making him the fifth-fastest in franchise history to reach that.
Coyotes: Travel to Vancouver on Saturday.
Kings: Host Carolina on Saturday.
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