The Kings and Coyotes played six times last season. Three of the games were decided by one goal; two were decided by two goals; and the other time the Kings decided not to play defense and lost 6-3.
True to their nature –even in the preseason, with rosters full of players who will spend this season in the AHL, ECHL or Canadian junior leagues –the Kings and Coyotes played a pair of one-goal games Thursday. The Coyotes squad that hosted the Kings in Glendale, Arizona, lost 3-2. The Coyotes squad that played in Anaheim a day earlier visited Staples Center and pulled out a 2-1 shootout win.
In Glendale [game summary | event summary], Dustin Penner scored with 49 seconds left in regulation to break a 2-2 tie. Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist, Trevor Lewis had three assists, and Ethan Moreau scored in the first period –chronologically, the Kings’ first goal of the preseason.
Jonathan Bernier started and saved 18 of 19 shots in two periods. Jeff Zatkoff got the third period and stopped 8 of 9.
At Staples Center, the vantage point of the press box offered a few more insights:
The Kings looked relatively cohesive for a team that hadn’t so much as scrimmaged prior to Wednesday. How else to explain 40 shots on goal (to the Coyotes’ 22)? Brad Richardson, Mike Richards and Dustin Brown had some of the game’s best shifts, on the power play and at even strength.
Slava Voynov had the Kings’ only goal in the second period, sneaking down from the left point to tap in a loose puck at the net. It was the high point of a power play that saw the Kings generate eight shots in little more than 10 minutes. “There’s a plan to get a lot more movement in place” on the power play, Terry Murray said.
Murray said he was pleased with Voynov’s game overall, rewarding him and Thomas Hickey with plenty of power-play time. So about that …with Drew Doughty still unwilling to re-sign, could the coach be grooming the two young defensemen to start the season in the NHL? “I’m not looking at it that way,” he said. “I’m trying to prepare all these guys as if they’re going to be here at the start of the year.”
Jarret Stoll missed a shootout attempt. In 10 attempts last season, he missed only once, the highest single-season shootout success rate for any shooter with at least five attempts. His active regular-season streak of eight successful shootout attempts began Dec. 23, 2010 and is one shy of Jussi Jokinen’s record.
Dustin Brown, Andy Miele and Oliver Ekman-Larsson converted their shootout tries, with Ekman-Larsson beating Martin Jones for the game-winner in the fourth round.