The LA Kings became the fourth team in NHL history to win eight consecutive road games to start a season, as they skated to a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday evening at Mullett Arena in Tempe.
For the second consecutive game, the Kings opened the scoring inside the game’s first three minutes with a goal on special teams, this a shorthanded tally from forward Trevor Moore. Forward Phillip Danault sprang Moore down the ice, with the Kings down a man, and Moore did the rest as he used his strength to hold off a backchecker before he finished back across the grain for his eighth goal of the season.
Just shy of the midway point of the opening period, the visitors doubled their advantage through forward Anze Kopitar, who buried his team-leading ninth goal of the season. Forward Quinton Byfield picked off an errant clearing attempt in the slot, made an agile move to his backhand and fed Kopitar at the back post for the goal. Byfield’s helper was his 12th of the season, moving him to within one of the team lead.
After a second period that saw Arizona possess more of the puck, but neither team score for more than 15 minutes, Moore buried his second goal of the game to open up a 3-0 advantage. Off an attempted saucer pass through the slot, Moore knocked the puck out of mid air, got it into a shooting position and sniped a wrist shot over the blocker side of Arizona netminder Connor Ingram, as he tied Kopitar at nine goals on the season.
With just over a minute to play in the second, the Coyotes got on the board to move back to within two goals heading into the second intermission. Lawson Crouse’s shot from the point was stopped by Kings netminder Pheonix Copley, but forward Mattias Maccelli got a piece of the rebound to sneak the puck into the net for his fourth goal of the season, bringing the score to 3-1.
As the third period progressed along, the Kings got an insurance goal from forward Phillip Danault, who buried his fourth goal of the season to push the advantage to 4-1. Forward Alex Laferriere made a shifty move in the neutral zone to create space down the right wing, before he fed Danault in the slot, where he buried for the three-goal advantage, the final scoreline on the evening.
Hear from Moore, Copley and Head Coach Todd McLellan following tonight’s game.
On the win tonight and the key to another road victory
I think it’s just sticking with it. They forecheck hard and make creative plays in the offensive zone, so I think at times, we were a little more sloppy than we wanted to be, but we all stuck together and worked through it. Then, on our offensive end, we did really well, so that was the key.
On how he felt the Kings limited Grade A’s, despite Arizona’s puck possession in the second period
For the most part, we were keeping them to the outside, they didn’t get a whole lot of stuff inside. When they got shots, we were there to clean up the rebounds and our net play was strong. That was key to when they were having those pushes, to keep them off the board and kind of kill the momentum.
On a big night from the group on the penalty kill
I mean, first, we’re blocking a lot of shots and that’s huge. We’re taking away lanes, that was a really good PP, that was a good test for us and we did a really good job keeping them on the outside. They’re trying to make plays but we were killing everything, some big blocks and then obviously clear the puck right after. I think we’ve beeb sticking to keeping it simple and that’s leading to the success.
On his focal points in practice, between starts, leading into today
I’ve been doing a little bit of extra work with [goaltending coach Mike Buckley]. I think to start the season, I’ve been a little bit inconsistent and I just wanted to give the guys here a full 60. I’ve put in some extra work with Bucks over the past week and a half or so and I think it helped to clean up some things. I felt good tonight.
On his takeaways from tonight’s win on the road
One, we won, so we’re obviously leaving here real happy. Two, the penalty kill played a real large role in that, obviously we didn’t want to go down six times against that power play, for as potent as they were. I think Copley played a big role in the game as well. Half their shots came on the power pla and some nights, when you don’t have everybody clicking the right way, you need other individuals to step up and I thought we saw that from Mooresy, Kev and Phil’s line tonight.
On turning to Pheonix Copley and seeing him get rewarded for the work he’s put in
Absolutely. This was kind of where things started for him and we targeted this game, we wanted him to get a good effort from the group, so that they could play well in front of him and get him back to where he needed to be. All the work he did, leading up into the game, was real important. I know Mike Buckley, our goaltender coach, was coming in daily saying he’s really playing well, practicing well, was ready to play and obviously he was.
On the decision to target this game specifically for Copley
Yeah, last time we were in here, we started and we went down, three real quick right off the bat. We had to pull him and it wasn’t necessarily on him. Since that time, our schedule’s been spaced out, large break in there, that we ran Talbot, so in the back of our minds, we were always thinking about playing him here again. Back to, if you want to call it, the scene of crime, but not necessarily his crime, our crime, and try to get the players as a whole to respond for him or he to respond to them.
On the shorthanded goal and what it did for the group early in the first period
I thought there was going to be a psychological factor in this game. After the last one we played here, where they had the lead and we came back, both coaches are probably saying “hey, if we just fix part of it, it will be important.” So, for us to score on their power play, which they rely on a lot, right off the bat, I think that helped us psychologically to get going the right way. Then, to pad it with two, but after that our power play was very sloppy and we almost let them back in, in those situations.
On limiting Grade-A chances on a night when the team had fewer attempts
Some of those came because of the momentum they had on the power play. They gained momentum there. Yeah, they didn’t score, but when you’re getting those types of touches, where you’re tiring the opponent as they were to us, tiring us out in the defensive zone, it makes you feel pretty good, but we took some specific lanes away. We had some reads that we had to make and we made them and we got timely whistles, whether sometimes it’s just an icing or a freeze, just to slow it down and regroup. I think that’s part of playing on the road and having a veteran team.
– Trevor Moore (2-0=2) recorded his team-leading second multi-goal game of the season, with his eighth and ninth goal of the season. Moore has now recorded a point in each of his last three games against the Coyotes (3-1=4), dating back to Oct. 24, 2023.
– Moore’s first period tally was his ninth career shorthanded goal, the most among any Kings skater since his deut with the team on Feb. 8, 2020. Moore also tied T.J. Oshie and Brandon Saad for the ninth-most shorthanded goals among active U.S.-born skaters.
– Anze Kopitar (1-0=1) scored his ninth goal of the season, extending his point streak to three games (2-1=3). With the goal, Kopitar has tallied 100 career point (31-69=100; regular-season and playoffs) against the Coyotes franchise. Per NHL PR, Kopitar becomes the fourth active skater with 100+ points versus a single franchise (regular season and playoffs), joining Sidney Crosby (PHI, NYI, NYR & WSH), Alex Ovechkin (CAR, TBL & PIT) and Evgeni Malkin (PHI, NYI)
– Phillip Danault (1-1=2) collected his fourth goal and eighth assist of the season, extending his assist and point streak to three games (1-3=4). It is Danault’s second multi-point game of the season (1-2=3, Oct. 17, 2023 vs. WPG).
Quinton Byfield (0-1=1) picked up his 12th assist of the season, extending his point streak against the Arizona Coyotes to a fourth game (1-4=5) dating back to Feb. 18, 2023. Only Ottawa’s Tim Stutzle (16) has more assists this season among skaters selected in the 2020 NHL entry draft.
– Alex Laferriere (0-1=1) recorded his second assist and fourth point of the season for his first career point against the Arizona Coyotes.
– Drew Doughty skated in his 1,112th career game with the Kings, surpassing Dave Taylor (1,111) for third-most games played in franchise history.
– Pheonix Copley stopped 30 of 31 shots to secure his first road win of the season.
– The Kings won with eighth road game of the season, improving their road record to 8-0-0 on the year. With their victory, the Kings are just the fourth team in NHL history to win each of their first eight road games to start a season: 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres (10 GP), 2009-10 New Jersey Devils (9 GP) and 2018-19 Nashville Predators (8 GP).
The Kings have a scheduled team day off tomorrow and will return to the ice for practice on Wednesday at 11 AM at Toyota Sports Performance Center.
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