The LA Kings fell to the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 in a penalty-riddled rookie showdown Saturday in Las Vegas. The teams combined for 38 penalty minutes and four of the five goals were scored on power play opportunities.
Each team took two minor penalties in the first period, but similar to Friday, the game was scoreless going into the second period. The Kings cashed in on the power play just 1:43 into the second period. Aatu Jamsen fired a one-timer past Coyotes goalie Anson Thornton after receiving a perfect circle-to-circle pass from Martin Chromiak, who recorded his second assist of the weekend.
THE POWER OF THE FLOW 🔥
— LA Kings (@LAKings) September 16, 2023
Former 11th-overall draft selection Conor Geekie tied the game later in the period when he snapped off a quick shot from between the circles for Arizona’s first power play goal of the game. It was the first goal allowed by Kings’ goaltender Jacob Ingham through 70 minutes of action.
Ingham continued his dominance for the Kings after earning his second straight start in net. He stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced through two periods before making way for invitee goaltender Jacob Oster.
The Kings were charged with three minor penalties through the first nine minutes of the third period, and Geekie took advantage. He tore down the left wing and scored a terrific solo-effort power play goal midway through the period to give the Coyotes their first lead. Aku Raty, a Coyotes’ 2019 draft selection, scored a third power play goal for Arizona just minutes later to establish a two-goal cushion.
Chromiak breathed life into the contest again in the final minutes as he sliced through the slot, collected a loose puck, and ripped the puck into the far corner. Ty Thorpe, an invitee from the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, was credited with the lone assist after chopping the puck into the zone from the Coyotes’ blue line.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) September 17, 2023
The Kings poured the pressure on in the final minute but were denied the tying goal on a sensational save by Thornton, who drew hollers from the Arizona bench as time expired.
1. Jacob Ingham isn’t messing around. Head coach Marco Sturm said it was important for Ingham to start today so that he could show his durability after missing an entire season, and boy, did he do exactly that. The plan was for Ingham to split Friday’s game evenly with Erik Portillo and then play two full periods Saturday. After two days in Vegas, Ingham has made 53 saves on 54 shots (a .981 save percentage) through 70 minutes. Seriously.
2. Penalties proved killer. The Kings had been perfect on the penalty kill with Sturm and company behind the bench. They did not allow a single power play goal at last year’s showcase and killed all four penalties they took on Friday. Sure, the roster is different, but the effort has been commendable. Today wasn’t necessarily a different story in regards to penalty killing, but the sheer volume of shorthanded time came back to bite the Kings. They took 10 minor penalties, resulting in 20 minutes spent in the box and multiple five-on-three opportunities for Arizona. Eventually, the Coyotes top prospects made the Kings pay.
3. Cole Krygier has been the backbone of the Kings’ defense. He has played in both games so far this weekend and has logged a ton of minutes. He’s 23 years old and logged eight AHL games for the Reign last year after the conclusion of his college season, so he’s one of the more experienced players at the showcase. He’s been reliable in defense, active in the offensive zone and eager to bring the physicality. After two games in two days, it seems reasonable that the Kings would give Krygier a rest, but I seriously wouldn’t be surprised if they rely on him again versus the Ducks’ prospect-heavy lineup on Monday.
Hear from Cole Krygier, Martin Chromiak and head coach Marco Sturm following Saturday’s loss:
On logging so many minutes through the first two games
I’ve really enjoyed it with the younger guys. We’ve had a great time on the road and they’re asking a lot of questions and kind of picking my brain. That’s what I’, here for. I want to be helpful to them and makes their games easier. Overall, the minutes have been good but we kind of had to grind away in the defensive zone with so many penalties tonight.
On being active offensively and defensively
I think the game has been kind of choppy. It’s pretty hard to join the rush as the fourth guy when there are constant turnovers at the blue line or pucks going back at you right away, so the gaps have been pretty hard. I think it’s just about finding a good rhythm for the defense and then going from there. I think overall, the game is fast and then they slow down as they go on. That gives more space and time for guys to skate in, and I think I’ve been moving my feet pretty well. Obviously, there are some bumps and bruises, but you’ve just got to get through it.
On establishing himself as a leader despite being relatively new to the organization
I think my last year was a big year for me. It was my fifth year at Michigan State so I had a lot of young guys to look after and I enjoyed it a lot. I like helping guys out. I think when you’re taking care of other people, people will take care of you, and that’s what I’ve tried to do lately. I’m obviously an older guy and I don’t have much time, so I have to take advantage of what I get.
On serving as alternate captain
I had no idea [it was happening]. I’m really glad and thankful that the coaches gave me the letter as part of the older group here. I want to be a leader on and off the ice so I was really thankful for that. I’m one of the oldest guys here along with the other players from the Reign last year. We talked before about us having to be the difference here. We have to help the younger guys on and off the ice. I think that’s our job here and I think we’ve been doing a good job.
On returning to the showcase and scoring again
I’m just trying to play my game and get better every day. The coaches are doing a great job helping me with watching video all the time and trying to help me improve my game. It’s great to be here again and I’m enjoying it.
On entering his second pro season
Last year was my first year. It took me a long time and more games to get used to being a pro here in North America. Now it’s my second year. I have more goals, bigger goals, than my first year and I’m just trying to improve every aspect of my game.
On Jacob Ingham’s second impressive outing
It was a big test for him coming off that big injury. Yes, he can play a good game, but can he do it again? I think he showed everyone today that he can do it again. We’re very excited for him and very happy that he came out like that again.
On Chromiak wearing an ‘A’
It always depends on the roster and today we had a lot of new kids, a lot of invitees, playing in the game. Believe it or not, he was one of the veterans. We asked him to take another step and that’s why we thought he deserved to have a letter today. He was one of our top fitness guys and I thought he looked pretty good.
On managing a game with so many penalties
We ask for a lot. As coaches, we ask a lot of those new players. There’s a lot to learn and a lot to show in a very short time. That’s why I keep telling those players that it’s okay to make mistakes. I don’t ask them to be perfect, but I wanted to compete. Today we just got carried away and were stupid sometimes, and that’s on us. That’s not how we want to play and we don’t want to be in the penalty box all night. It was definitely on us. Nothing else.
On Cole Krygier being relied on through two games
He’s a little bit older and he came to us last year, so he’s one of those guys we think can handle it. It’s going to be a challenging year for him coming from college to pro in today’s environment and playing a lot of games in a short amount of time. We are really happy with how he’s played in the first two games, but we rely on him and want him to be better this year as well.
The Kings have a practice day Sunday and then return to action Monday at 12:30 against the Anaheim Ducks. You can watch the game live on LAKings.com.