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Yandle's big night leads Coyotes past Kings

The SportsXchange

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett gives defenseman Keith Yandle a great deal of leeway in the offensive zone. Tuesday night, the coach's confidence paid off.

Yandle scored twice, his first two-goal game in more than three seasons, and Jason LaBarbera made a season-high 39 saves as the Coyotes beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 at Jobing.Com Arena.

"That's him reading the play," Tippett said. "He has the green light to jump in there. We have to rely on everyone to create chances for us."

Yandle had opened the scoring at 11:02 of the first period, charging up the middle to take a pass from Kyle Chipchura and beat Quick.

"We got out quick out of our own end and were able to play down there," Yandle said. "When our forwards have it down low, we have big strong forwards who can make plays on the puck. I saw Chipper, he was handling it down there and I was able to find a lane."

Yandle made it 3-1 with 2:53 left, firing a shot from the outside of the left circle off Jonathan Quick's left shoulder for his first two-goal game was January 26, 2010 against Detroit.

While Yandle led the offense, LaBarbera held the Kings at bay and allowed only a goal to Justin Williams on a shot from the right side that bounced off Phoenix defenseman Michael Stone.

LaBarbera, who appeared in only seven of Phoenix's first 30 games, has started five straight in place of the injured Mike Smith.

"That's part of being a backup goalie," LaBarbera said. "That's been my job for the last four years. It can get frustrating and tough at times but you try and make the best of it."

Phoenix, which gave coach Dave Tippett his 150th win with the club, has points in its past four after losing four in a row.

Matthew Lombardi also scored and Chipchura finished with a pair of assists for the Coyotes, who won for the second time in three games.

Phoenix moved ahead of Dallas for twelfth place in the Western Conference, four points behind St. Louis for the eighth and final playoff spot.

"I don't think we've been playing bad lately," LaBarbera said. "We just haven't been able to find ways to win."

After Yandle opened the scoring, Williams answered 70 seconds later for the Kings.

Lombardi snapped a 1-1 tie at 11:05 of the second period when he took a pass from Rob Klinkhammer off the right sideboards and backhanded a shot just inside the left post for his second goal in three nights.

Quick stopped 27 of 30 shots for Los Angeles, which lost in regulation for the first time in five games.

The Kings, who completed a 3-1-1 road trip, remained in fifth place in the Western Conference, one point behind Vancouver and 10 points back of Pacific Division-leading Anaheim.

"We could have won every game," said Kings coach Darryl Sutter. "We've played well enough to win every game. That's the way it goes."

NOTES: Yandle's goals were the 50th and 51st of his career. He leads Phoenix in home scoring with seven goals and 10 assists in 19 games at Jobing.Com Arena but has only one goal and four points on the road. ... During the game, the Kings finalized their trade for Buffalo D Robyn Regehr after the veteran passed his physical. Earlier Tuesday, Los Angeles traded D Davis Drewiske to Montreal. Drewiske had dressed in only one of the Kings' past 16 games. ... Before the game, Coyotes LW Steve Sullivan was honored for playing his 1,000th career game on March 28. ... Williams has goals in four straight games. ... Smith has missed five straight games with an upper-body injury. LW Lauri Korpikoski missed his fourth straight with an upper-body injury, and Zbynek Michalek missed his 11th in a row with a lower-body injury. Michalek has been skating with the team but hasn't played since March 9 against Dallas. ... Los Angeles has been outscored 24-29 in the first period this season. ... The Kings entered the game with three wins in four games against the Coyotes this season. Including last season's Western Conference finals, Los Angeles had won seven of nine.
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