FINAL – Kings 0, Coyotes 4 – Kopitar, McLellan

The LA Kings were unable to recreate much of what they brought last night, skating to a 4-0 defeat against the Arizona Coyotes in the second game of a back-to-back this weekend at STAPLES Center.

Arizona opened the scoring just past the halfway mark of the first period and never looked back. Forward John Hayden tallied his first career goal with the Coyotes, to get the guests on the board. Forward Derick Brassard, skating past the goal line, fed an uncovered Hayden in front, and the 26-year-old winger beat Cal Petersen on the blocker side for the 1-0 advantage.

The visitors made it 2-0 less than a minute into the second period, as Lawson Crouse drove the front of the net and redirected home an Alex Goligoski shot from the point for his fourth goal of the season.

The Coyotes made it a four-goal advantage in the third period, with goals from defenseman Jakob Chychrun and forward Phil Kessel. First, Chychrun wired a slap shot home from the left-hand circle, on the power play, to make it a three-goal lead, before Kessel picked off a pass in the neutral zone and snapped home his team’s fourth of the evening from the right-hand circle, beating Petersen on the glove side.

Throughout the evening, the Kings lacked the energy and tenacity that they brought yesterday against Minnesota. The result was a massive disparity in the shot totals in the first half of the game, that closed narrowly as the Kings committed more resources for a goal in the latter stages. Arizona was in control for the majority of the 60 minutes, however, earning the two points tonight.

Hear from Anze Kopitar and Todd McLellan from after tonight’s game.

Anze Kopitar

Todd McLellan

On what changed from last night’s game to tonight’s
We didn’t have it as a team. We didn’t have it physically and emotionally we didn’t have it either, it was a little bit empty. I don’t know if the game yesterday took it out of us or not, certainly the way Arizona played and checked didn’t help our cause either, they played as good a game as you can possibly play on the road, and it was frustrating to play against. You put that all together and we just didn’t have it. We were second to a lot of pucks, our shot selection and our ability to get it off was slow, we didn’t defend the way we needed to obviously. We were the second-placed team tonight, for sure.

On the exchanges between forwards and defensemen tonight
We just weren’t on. We didn’t execute – Some of that is due to their aggressiveness, their reads, they were sharp tonight, they were really good. I’m sure that their coach was really happy with their play and we weren’t. We can’t afford not to be at the top of our game on any given night, and today we weren’t. We didn’t connect coming out of our end, we were slow, a lot of times there were punts where we got rid of the puck to survive. There’s no excuse for it, we just weren’t any good in that area, or in many other areas tonight.

On the different nature of the two losses, and his message moving forward
Yeah, they were, I think that’s an accurate observation on your behalf. We get a day off tomorrow and then we play a game against our rivals. If that’s not motivating enough, if you can’t bring that self-pride to the rink, want to get better, prove that you belong…everybody’s asking for more, wants more, well let’s see it from you. That should be a real good motivating factor for everybody that’s in the lineup, from the older player on down through the youngest player.

On manufacturing desperation, not having it tonight, and what he hopes to see on Monday
We talk about it after the fact…I do believe our guys came to the rink, there was an intensity to us in the morning, I think there was an intensity to us in the lead up to the game, there was an excitement to play the game, but it wasn’t there. It was just an empty night, legs, thought process, emotion, they took it out of us early and we couldn’t recover from it. Where do we want to go from here? We want to get some rest, come back, we’ve got four straight games, eight points, against our rivals down the road, and we want to make good on all eight points.

Notes –
– Goaltender Cal Petersen started on back-to-back nights for the first time this season, and the third time in his NHL career.
– Petersen made 36 saves on 40 shots, the ninth time he’s faced 40 or more shots in a game this season.
– The Kings were shutout for the third time this season, the second time on home ice.

The Kings are scheduled for a full team off day tomorrow, following the back-to-back this weekend. The team is slated to return to the ice for a morning skate on Monday, in advance of that evening’s game versus the Ducks.

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