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Coyotes attempt comeback, fall short 6-3 to the Kings

© Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

In a nine-goal thriller, the Arizona Coyotes (3-3) fell to the Los Angeles Kings (3-2-1) 6-3 inside Arena on Oct. 24.

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Coming into the game, Arizona were riding on a two-game winning streak.

Previously, they beat the St. Louis Blues 6-2 on Oct. 19 and the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 on Oct. 21.

For the first time, Arizona defenseman Sean Durzi would play against his former team in Los Angeles.

Durzi spent two season in California before being traded to the valley in the past offseason.

As for the Kings, they came off of a 4-2 defeat to the 2022-23 Presidents Trophy winners, the Boston Bruins.

Offensively, Los Angeles have averaged 4.20 goals a game, which was third in the NHL.

Knowing that they can score at will, this game was destined to be an offensive onslaught.

And it didn’t disappoint.

First Period

Originally, the Coyotes didn’t take long to get on the board, but their lead didn’t last.

Along the boards, ‘Yotes center Jack McBain passed the puck to teammate Matias Maccelli in the right corner of the offensive zone.

As a trailer, Maccelli found Arizona winger Travis Boyd who fired a shot at Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley.

After Copley made the initial save, McBain cut in-front of the net to bury the rebound 2:59 in.

Following the Coyotes gaining a 1-0 lead, Los Angeles responded.

Quickly, Arizona center Nick Bjugstad would take a hooking penalty on LA captain Anže Kopitar.

Then, Kings winger Kevin Fiala passed the puck to Kopitar who scored a one-timer on the power-play with 11:47 left in the first frame.

Moments later, Los Angeles forward Trevor Lewis potted in his first goal of the season 10:35 into the first 20-minutes and all of a sudden, the score was 2-1 LA.

Things got worse for the Coyotes as Kings winger Trevor Moore scored his team-leading 5th goal of the campaign 1:59 later.

With the score 3-1 LA, Arizona goaltender Connor Ingram was replaced by Karel Vejmelka after Ingram gave up 3 goals on 9 shots.

Ending the period, Los Angeles led in shots 10-7 thanks to a lightning quick flurry after Mcbain’s tally.

Second Period

Those who would think that the offense would have stopped were sorely mistaken.

Initially being a game-time decision dealing with an injury, Coyotes winger Michael Carcone would get a point on the board.

In the neutral zone, ‘Yotes power forward Lawson Crouse picked up a loose puck and gave it to Carcone.

Attacking, Carcone took a few strides and sent it back to Crouse who took a shot at Copley.

Like the Coyotes first goal, Copley made a save, but this time, Bjugstad found the back of the net to score and the deficit was shortened to 3-2 6:17 into the second-20 minutes.

1:22 later, Kings center Blake Lizotte received a pass from defenseman Drew Doughty and he beat Vejmelka to get LA’s two-goal lead back, 4-2.

Towards the end of the second period, Doughty tripped ‘Yotes defenseman Juuso Välimäki.

Pursuing an answer, Arizona right winger Nick Schmaltz gave the puck to rookie Logan Cooley.

Looking around, Cooley found teammate Clayton Keller open on the right for a one-timer to net his 4th goal of the season on the power-play and the “Desert Dogs” cut the lead down to 4-3 with 3:32 left in the middle period.

Third Period

A couple of high-sticking penalties started the third period, then the Kings offense added another goal.

Initially, a shot by LA defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov looked like it was saved by Vejmelka.

But, the puck slipped through Vejmelka’s blocker side and Fiala dove for the puck to get a piece of the puck to slide it over the goalie line and Los Angeles gained a 5-3 advantage 5:35 into the third period.

Trying to respond again, Arizona scored, then didn’t.

On the power-play, Durzi sent a shot towards Copley.

As the puck was heading to the net, Coyotes center Barrett Hayton tipped the puck and his deflection went into the goal with 10:16 left in the third.

Unfortunately, for Hayton, his redirected goal would be called back after Schmaltz entered into the Kings zone too early and was deemed offsides.

With 2:41 to go in the game, Vejmelka would be pulled for an empty net and an extra-attacking, 6-on-5 advantage.

Putting the nail in the coffin, Los Angeles forward Adrian Kempe scored into the vacant goal to seal a 6-3 victory.

Postgame Notes

At the end, the Kings outshot the Coyotes 28-27.

Additionally, they both went 1-for-4 on the power-play.

For goaltending, Ingram made 6 saves on 9 shots before Vejmelka came in and stopped 16 of the 18 he faced.

As for Copley, he rejected 24 out of 27 attempts from the ‘Yotes.

With Keller’s goal and Schmaltz’s assist, they both still lead the Coyotes in points with 7 in 6 games.

Fiala, Lizotte, Kempe and Kopitar all had two points each.

These two teams play again inside Mullett Arena in Tempe on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.

BREAKING: Coyotes winger Michael Carcone IN lineup vs. Kings

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Alec Cipollini is a journalist covering the Arizona Coyotes, Cardinals and Phoenix Rising for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

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