With a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night at Mullet Arena in Tempe, the LA Kings became just the fourth team in NHL history to win eight straight road games to start a season.
For the second straight game, the Kings opened the scoring on special teams in the first three minutes of the game, including a shorthanded goal by forward Trevor Moore. Forward Phillip Dannot threw Moore across the ice, the Kings went down, and Moore did the rest, using his strength to grab a backchecker before scoring his eighth goal of the season.
Striker Anze Kopitar doubled the lead as he buried his ninth goal of the season for the timid visitors midway through the opening half. Forward Quinton Byfield tried to clear up a mistake in the area by moving backwards and feeding Kopitar at the back post with a smart move. Byfield’s assist was his 12th of the season and tied for the team lead.
Arizona had plenty of shots, but Moore buried his second goal of the game to make it 3-0 just over 15 minutes into the second period. Moore missed the pass through the slot, Moore knocked the puck out of mid-air, got into a shooting position and sniped the wrist on the side of the barrier of Arizona netminder Connor Ingram, as he tied Kopitar at nine goals on the season.
With just over a minute left in the second, the Coyotes got on the board to get back within two goals going into the second half. Lawson Cruz’s shot from the point was stopped by Kings netminder Pheonix Copley, but forward Mathias Maselli snuck in the ball for his fourth goal of the season to make it 3-1.
As the third period wore on, the Kings got an insurance goal from forward Philippe Danault, who buried his fourth goal of the season to push the score to 4-1. Forward Alex Laferriere made a move in the neutral zone to create space down the right wing, before feeding Danault in the slot, where he buried it for a three-goal advantage, the final score of the night.
Hear from Moore, Copley and head coach Todd McClellan following tonight’s game.
Key to a win tonight and another road win
I think it’s just sticking. They checked hard and made creative plays in the offensive zone, so sometimes I think we were a little bit better than we wanted to be, but we all stuck together. Then, on our attacking end, we did really well, so that was the key.
Despite Arizona’s possession of the puck in the second period, the Kings felt the A’s were limited.
Mostly, we put them outside, they didn’t find many items inside. When they got the ball, we were there to clear the ball and our net play was strong. That was the key to getting them off the board while doing those pushups and killing the momentum.
Big night from the team on the penalty kill
I mean, first of all, we’re blocking a lot of shots and that’s huge. We’re taking lines, that was great PP, that was a good test for us and we did a good job of keeping them outside. They’re trying to make plays but we’ve been killing everything, some big blocks and then obviously clearing the puck. I think we stick to the bib to keep it simple and that leads to success.
On his focus points in practice, between beginnings, leading up to today
I’m doing a little more work. [goaltending coach Mike Buckley]. I think to start the season, I’m a bit inconsistent and I wanted to give the guys a full 60 here. In the last week and a half or so I’ve done some more work with the Bucks and I think. It helped clear some things up. I felt good tonight.
From tonight’s victory on the road
One, we won, so obviously we’re really happy here. Two, the penalty killer played a big role, obviously we didn’t want to go down six times on that power play. I think Copley played a big part in the game. Half of their shots are on the power plus and some nights, if they’re not all clicking the right way, you need other individuals to step up and I thought we saw that from the line of Murresi, Kev and Phil tonight.
When he turned to Pheonix Copley and saw that he was getting an award for his work
Absolutely. That’s how things started for him and we were targeting this game, we want him to get a good effort from the team, play well in front of him and get him back to where he needs to be. All the work he did leading up to the game was so important. I know our scoring coach, Mike Buckley, has been coming in every day, he’s really playing well, practicing well, he’s ready to play and obviously he has been.
The decision to target this game specifically for Copley
Yeah, the last time we were here, we started and went down, three quick right off the bat. We had to pull it and it wasn’t necessarily on him. Since then, our schedule has expanded, since we ran Talbot, there’s a big break in there, so in the back of our minds, we’ve always thought about playing him here again. Go back, if you want to call the crime scene, but his crime, not our crime, and try to make the players generally respond to him or him to respond to them.
What he did for the team with a short goal and at the beginning of the first period
I thought there would be a psychological aspect to this game. After the last game we played here, when they came back with a lead, both coaches were saying, “Oh, it would be good if we could fix just one part of it.” So we were able to score right off the bat with their power play, which we rely on a lot, which I think helped psychologically to get us going in the right direction. Then to make it two, but our power play was too sloppy and we let them back in those situations.
A night where the team had fewer attempts, limiting the chances of the A-level
Some of that came from their initiative on the power play. There they found revival. Yes, they didn’t score, but when you get that kind of touch, it makes you feel good when you tire the opponent like we did in the defensive zone. We had some reads to make and we made them and sometimes we got timely whistles to slow down and regroup, whether it was snow or just snow. I think that’s part of playing on the road and having a veteran team.
– Trevor Moore (2-0=2) had his team-leading second multi-goal game with his eighth and ninth goals of the season. Moore has scored in each of his last three games against the Coyotes (3-1=4), dating back to Oct. 24, 2023.
-Moore’s shorthanded debut was his ninth goal since 2011. Born skaters.
– Anze Kopitar (1-0=1) scored his ninth goal of the season and extended his streak to three games (2-1=3). With the goal, Kopitar posted 100 career points (31-69=100; regular season and playoffs) with the Coyotes franchise. Per NHL PR, Kopitar becomes the fourth active skater with 100+ points in a single franchise (regular season and playoffs), joining Sidney Crosby (PHI, NYI, NYR & WSH), Alex Ovechkin (CAR, TBL & PIT) and Evgeni Malkin. (PHI, NY)
– Philippe Danout (1-1=2) collected his fourth goal and eighth assist of the season to extend his assist and point streak to three games (1-3=4). It was 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 streak to four games against the Arizona Coyotes (1-4=5) since February 18, 2023. Only Tim Stuttle of Ottawa. (16) Has the most assists this season among skaters selected in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
– Alex LaFerriere (0-1=1) had his first career point, second assist and fourth point against the Arizona Coyotes.
– Drew Doughty hit a home run in his 1,112th career game with the Kings, surpassing Dave Taylor (1,111) for the third-most games in franchise history.
– Pheonix Copley stopped 30 of 31 shots to secure his first road win of the season.
– The Kings won their eighth road game of the season, improving their road record to 8-0-0 on the year. With their victory, the Kings became only the fourth team in NHL history to win each of their first eight road games to start a season: 2006-07 Buffalo Sabers (10 GP), 2009-10 New Jersey Devils (9 GP) and 2018-19 Nashville Predators. (8 GP).
The Kings have a team day off tomorrow and return to the ice Wednesday at 11 AM at the Toyota Sports Performance Center.
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