Game 55; 30-19-6
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Coming off a big win in San Jose the night before, the Los Angeles Kings were looking for another two points, this time in the desert. But everything that went right on Monday night in NorCal must have stayed there because on Tuesday, the Kings just weren't good enough to win.
To open the game, the Kings fired 13 shots against Tomas Greiss, who got the nod in the Phoenix net instead of Mike Smith. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles theme of more shots, less goals continued as Greiss turned away all 13 first-period shots with the Coyotes gave him some offensive support.
At the 15:57 mark of the first, Oliver Ekman-Larsson opened the scoring, snapping his seventh past Quick to give Phoenix the lead. With that and just one penalty, the first period was pretty uneventful. But things picked up in the second.
Just 3:04 into the middle frame came controversy. Jordan Nolan made what looked like a legal hit on Phoenix's Kyle Chipchura. The hit was immediately followed by Paul Bissonette attacking Nolan. But when the smoke cleared, it was the Coyotes who had a power play with an extra two minutes given to Nolan for interference. Worse for the Kings, the Desert Dogs capitalized as Ekman-Larsson slapped home his second of the contest to put Phoenix up by a pair. Even Jonathan Quick knew it was a goal he wanted back as he was visibly disappointed in himself after the tally.
After a strong-shooting opening period, the Kings were outshot 8-12 in the second and while it was still relatively early, it looked as if the silver-and-black had the wind knocked out of their own sails. They couldn't even stay out of the penalty box having gone to the sin bin twice more since giving up their second goal on the night.
In the third, the Coyotes sealed it as Antoine Vermette wristed his 19th past Quick at 8:47 to put Phoenix up by a field goal. That, in addition, to a penalty-less 20 minutes spelt an uneventful third period en route to a very disappointing loss for the Kings.
Overall, this was a discouraging performance for the Kings. While it certainly is understandable to be tired after playing just the previous night, the silver-and-black looked sluggish, reticent and made stick-handling looked like something out of the pee-wee level with all due respect.
While I don't agree that this team needs a facelift or that any of the coaches need to be fired, I have to acknowledge that something does need to change in Los Angeles. Yes, they reach their low points every season like any team but I think most can agree that something's not quite right with the Kings - and hasn't been for over a month now.
More on that later but for now, this racks up as a disappointing loss for the Kings as they now look forward to Thursday. They return home to Staples Center hoping to get back in the win column - this time, against the always-formidable Pittsburgh Penguins.