Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Coyotes stun Kings with third-period rally

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- In danger of suffering a crucial loss after blowing another two-goal lead, the Phoenix Coyotes rallied to capture a vital two points in the Western Conference playoff chase Monday.

They did it by forcing a rare late-game capitulation from the Los Angeles Kings.

Winger Jeff Halpern scored the game-winning goal, and Mike Smith made 36 saves as the Coyotes defeated the Kings 4-3 at Staples Center.

Phoenix (33-25-11) broke a two-game losing streak and remained in the thick of the Western Conference wild-card race. The Kings (37-25-6) lost their third consecutive game.

The defeat marked the first time this season the Kings lost despite leading after two periods. Los Angeles fell in regulation for just the second time in over the past 139 regular-season games when it led after 40 minutes.

Smith's performance was more impressive considering he was not at full strength. He caught a flu bug Sunday night and was questionable to play Monday.

"Once you get in the game, the adrenaline takes over," Smith said. "I lacked a bit of energy, but this is no time for being sick."

Halpern's fourth goal of the season came after a review at 16:55 of the third period, as his shot from the goalmouth appeared to be saved by Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.

The Kings' usual defensive prowess was absent. They made uncharacteristic errors in their own zone throughout the game and paid the price.

"I think we could have been a little bit more desperate on the two (third-period) goals they scored in terms of making plays in our own zone," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "That is back-to-back games where we have made basic checking mistakes in our own zone."

Faced with the prospect of losing further ground to the Dallas Stars (32-24-11) for the West's final playoff spot, the Coyotes rallied to win when trailing after two periods for the seventh time this season. The victory moved two points above Dallas, though the Stars hold two games in hand.

"We just got back to playing how we were in the first period, and other than that early power play they got where they generated some chances, and I thought we played very well," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "The third period went our way, pucks went deep and we had people going to the net hard."

The Coyotes rallied from a poor second period to tie the game on defenseman Keith Yandle's eighth goal of the season at 9:44 of the final period. An errant clearing pass by Kings defenseman Matt Greene from behind his own net wound up on Yandle's stick, and the subsequent shot from 55 feet eluded Quick.

"I don't think I played well enough," Quick said. "You give up four goals you are going to lost the game. I have to be better."

Los Angeles used two second-period goals to forge a 3-2 lead at the second intermission. The Kings evened the score at 2-2 at 6:50 on defenseman Alec Martinez's eighth goal of the season. Winger Jeff Carter circled the net after a rush down the right side, and his pass was one-timed past an unsuspecting Smith for the equalizer.

Winger Marian Gaborik gave Los Angeles its first lead of the night at 18:19 of the second period. Gaborik converted a feed from Kopitar in the slot for his eighth goal of the season and second in a Los Angeles uniform.

The Coyotes scored twice in just over a minute in the first period to take a 2-0 lead. Right winger Radim Vrbata flipped a shot that was knocked in by left winger Rob Klinkhammer for his 11th goal of the season at 6:34.

Phoenix doubled its lead with a power-play goal by winger Mikael Boedker just over a minute later. Boedker took a feed in the slot from defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and backhanded a shot from 20 feet past Quick for his 17th goal of the season at 7:36.

Los Angeles crept to within one on rookie winger Tanner Pearson's second goal of the season at 17:02 of the first period.

Quick finished with 23 saves.

NOTES: Phoenix scratched D David Schlemko, RW Martin Erat, LW Paul Bissonnette, C Andy Miele and D Brandon Gormley. ... Coyotes C Mike Ribeiro is one assist short of his ninth consecutive season with at least 30. ... Phoenix C Martin Hanzal returned to the lineup after missing seven games due to injury. The Coyotes were 5-2-0 during his absence. ... Los Angeles did not dress RW Dustin Brown and D Jake Muzzin. ... The Kings will start a stretch of five games against Eastern Conference competition Thursday when the Washington Capitals visit Staples Center. The Kings are 16-8-3 against the East this season. ... C Anze Kopitar is tied with Mike Murphy for eighth in Kings history with 194 goals.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (1)