Game 2; 0-2-0
LOS ANGELES — There was a silver lining from Friday’s matchup and that was, unlike their opener on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Kings fought a valiant effort. Unfortunately, like Wednesday, the end result was the same as the silver-and-black fell to the Arizona Coyotes by a 4-1 count.
Last season, Jonathan Quick was the netminder who shone in this division rivalry. Fans did not see that on Friday, however, as it was Arizona’s Mike Smith who turned heads in goal, stopping 40 of 41 shots en route his team’s win.
The Desert Dogs wasted little time getting things started as defenseman Zbynek Michalek took a weak-looking point shot that found its way past Jonathan Quick and in. The Coyotes then added to their lead with just 48 seconds remaining in the first as Oliver Ekman-Larsson made no mistake on a one-timer set up by Martin Hanzal in front.
Despite being outshot 13-8 in the opening frame, the Coyotes held a two-goal lead.
In the second, Max Domi finished a play on a turnover by Jordan Weal to cash in on his first-career NHL goal — in his first-career game — at the 4:43 mark. Then, just under two minutes later, sophomore Tobias Rieder scored his first of the season to make it 4-0 for the visiting club — on only Arizona’s 10th shot of the night.
Despite allowing four goals on just 10 shots, Quick remained between the Los Angeles pipes. Overall, he made 18 of 22 saves.
Before the middle frame was through, the Kings got a break as, with his team shorthanded, Jeff Carter stole the puck from Mikkel Boedker before breaking in alone against Mike Smith. While he was able to stop Carter’s shot, a sprawled Smith had no chance on Tyler Toffoli‘s rebound as No. 73 put Los Angeles on the board, finally solving the Coyotes netminder.
That, however, was all the offense the Kings could muster on this night as they drop to 0-2-0 on this early season.
One anticipated storyline entering Friday night was the regular-season NHL debut of the aforementioned Jordan Weal. He finished with a -1 rating and one hit.
Captain Dustin Brown, despite finishing the night with a -2 rating, was a workhorse nonetheless having registered a team-leading seven shots.
Overall, it wasn’t a fun night for the home team and their fans at STAPLES Center. With the new additions, it is evident that the Kings will need some time to really gel and develop some chemistry. At 0-2-0 and having been outscored 9-2 thus far, there isn’t much to feel proud of in Los Angeles. However, it is still much too early to determine anything significant, so the silver-and-black definitely have some time to adjust.
With two games in three nights, the Kings are now off for a few days. They next take the ice on Tuesday night when they plat host to another Pacific rival, the Vancouver Canucks.