The LA Kings picked up their first home win of the season, beating the Arizona Coyotes 6-3 on Tuesday. Four players notched multi-point efforts for the Kings.
After a slow start which saw the visiting Coyotes take the early 1-0 lead, the Kings ended up having a very strong first period, out-attempting Arizona 16-9 and taking a 3-1 lead into the second on goals from Anze Kopitar, Trevor Lewis and Trevor Moore.
Arizona controlled most of the shot attempts in the next two periods, but LA had the edge in shot quality. This was the third game this season the Kings compiled double-digit high-danger chances (10), though, the five they allowed is tied for the second highest as well. At times, the coverage in the defensive zone was a little sloppy, but Pheonix Copley made some big saves at key times when called upon.
Blake Lizotte scored in the second period before Kevin Fiala and Adrian Kempe put the game out of reach in the third.
The best part about this LA Kings lineup is if one line doesn’t have it, there’s inevitably one that will. PL Dubois, Kevin Fiala, and Alex Laferriere dominated Arizona in their 10:40 of ice time together. The trio held a 10-5 edge in scoring chances and a 5-0 advantage in high-danger chances. Fiala’s third-period goal was his first tally of the season.
After a really good first period (6-2 in shot attempts) for the Anze Kopitar line, it was a little underwhelming the rest of the game in terms of possession. That said, like Dubois’ line, they did not allow a single high-danger chance in over 12 minutes of ice time.
Hockey is a funny game sometimes. The worst two lines in terms of possession and expected goals were the Phillip Danault and Blake Lizotte lines. Yet, they combined for three goals at 5-on-5. Hey, if the process wasn’t there in this one, at least the results were.
It was a rare off night for Vladislav Gavrikov and Matt Roy. They were out-attempted 10-6 and out-chanced 7-3 in 14:04 of ice time. Ironically enough it wasn’t the likes of Logan Cooley or Clayton Keller that did the damage. Alex Kerfoot and Matias Maccelli got the better of the LA Kings’ formidable pair in this one.
Ah, but like the forwards, you can’t keep them all down. Mikey Anderson and Drew Doughty were exceptional. They did hold the edge against Arizona’s big boys and feasted on the lower part of their lineup. In over 15 minutes together, Anderson and Doughty out-attempted Arizona 17-11, out-chanced them 11-6, and allowed just one high-danger chance against (compared to six for LA).
We finally got to see an extended look at the pair of Andreas Englund and Jordan Spence. The two played 7:51 together and, well, I don’t know how much confidence they gave the coaching staff. Individually, each of them had their moments – particularly Englund who made a real nice play on Trevor Lewis‘ goal – but together it wasn’t pretty. They were out-attempted 8-3 and out-chanced 6-3 The sample remains small, but this just seems like an odd pairing to me, even if individually they’re each bringing something to the table.
The LA power play went 1-for-4 with Anze Kopitar hammering home a one-time feed from Kevin Fiala in the first period. I again thought the power play looked pretty good. Todd McLellan talked after the morning skate about not having a right-handed shot down low with the Viktor Arvidsson injury so the top unit is trying to figure some things out still. I thought there was much more off-the-puck movement in an effort to create looks and I thought the power play did just that. In their four power plays, they had 14 shot attempts and eight scoring chances.
As for the penalty kill, they allowed one goal on four Arizona power plays, but that one goal is hard to be too critical of. The puck movement from the Coyotes was as impressive as you’ll see, leading to a Clayton Keller goal. Arizona did score a power-play goal later in the game as well after a failed Trevor Lewis clearing attempt, but the hawk-eyes of the LA Kings video crew spotted an opportunity for an offside challenge, which they ended up winning and getting the goal overturned.
I’m not sure the penalty killed looked great, but that’s a really good power play the Coyotes have, and Copley came up big when needed.
5-on-5 Shot Attempts
As noted above, it was a struggle for the fourth line, despite the two goals.
Jordan Specne played 12:22 at 5-on-5 but was on the ice for the second-most shot attempts against.
5-on-5 Expected Goals
The on-ice expected goals really reinforce the performance of the PL Dubois line. They allowed the fewest expected goals against and were far and away the most creative offensive players.
We know the Englund-Spence pairing wasn’t great. But when seeing them individually, you can see the difference in the player types. Yes, Spence allowed more expected goals against, but from a percentage standpoint, was much better than Englund because of how much Spence was on the ice for. The downside of a player like Englund is if he is on the ice for many chances against, he isn’t likely to be a factor on the offensive side. But again, hockey is a funny game, he had a very nice assist in this one.
Adrian Kempe and Kevin Fiala led in overall shot contributions (six each) with Kempe leading in shot attempts (four). Drew Doughty led the way in shot assists with four – two of which were slot passes.
I thought this was Fiala’s best game of the season. He was more involved in the offense and he made a concerted effort to put more pucks on net.
Overall at 5-on-5, the LA Kings had seven slot passes, three of which led directly to goals.
Between the pipes
I thought Pheonix Copley was good in this one. His .889 save percentage isn’t going to seem like it, but he was let down by poor coverage on two of the goals and the power play goal was simply a thing of beauty. He made a lot of big saves in tight as well. According to MoneyPuck, Copley finished with a -0.03 GSAx – which you might expect to be worse given the .889 SV%. They had all three of the goals allowed as high danger. Evolving Hockey was a little nicer to Copley as they had him at a 0.15 GSAx.
Ultimately, I think this is a performance the LA Kings can win with.
It’s the Coyotes again as the Kings will play in Arizona on Friday night. It’s the first of a back-to-back as LA will return home to host the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday.