Maybe the Coyotes needed a couple of days to rest, recoup and reflect because on Tuesday night against the visiting Los Angeles Kings they played their brand of hockey. After surrendering 11-goals in their previous two-games, Phoenix shutdown the Kings on their way to a 3-1 win.
“There were lots of shots at the net but I thought we just competed harder defensively,” Coyotes head Dave Tippett said. “We were harder in front of our net. Competed like we’re supposed to and we got an ‘A’ game from Smitty (Mike Smith). Some timely scoring. It’s a good two points.”
Coyotes goalie Mike Smith stopped 41 of 42 shot in the victory. Tuesday’s win may have been a bit of revenge for last week’s loss to the Kings, in which Smith was pulled from the game after giving up four-goals in the first period. Phoenix ultimately lost that game 7-4 to Los Angeles.
“We kind of got embarrassed in their building last game,” Smith said. “So I think we responded really well tonight.”
The first 38-minutes of the game was a stalemate. A war of attrition. With 1:41 remaining in the second period Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris scored his second goal of the season and the tie was finally broken. Morris was assisted by Kyle Chipchura and Andy Miele. It was the first point of Miele’s NHL career.
The Coyotes weren’t done. With six-seconds remaining in the second period Shane Doan scored his third goal of the season. The Captain was assisted by Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle. With the assist Yandle has points in four-consecutive games.
Phoenix extended their lead on Chipchura’s second goal of the season. Chipchura was assisted by David Moss and Miele. At 5:38 in the third period the Coyotes we’re in command with a 3-0 advantage.
Kings center Jarrett Stoll broke up the shutout when he scored his first goal of the season with 3:21 left in the game.
Phoenix forward Martin Hanzal did not suit up against the Kings. Hanzal was suspended by the National Hockey League for two-games for charging Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry on October 26 when the Coyotes hosted the Oilers. Hanzal is eligible to return on November 2nd when the Coyotes take on the San Jose Sharks.
With the win Phoenix improves to 8-3-2 this season and the Kings drop to 8-5-0. The Coyotes are currently in fourth place in the Pacific Division, two points ahead of the Kings.
The Coyotes are off on Wednesday. On Halloween, Thursday the 31st, they host the Nashville Predators at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, AZ. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m. (PT)
“We needed to play well,” Tippett said. “Not just because it was a big division game and they beat us last week but we needed to get our game in order a little bit. Lets not kid ourselves we still gave up 40-shots but we competed the way we need to compete if we’re going to have a chance to be successful.”