GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was worried about his team’s focus coming off a three-day holiday break, but for two periods against the Los Angeles Kings, the Coyotes followed their basic blue print for success.
A rash of penalties over the game’s final 30 minutes took them off that plan and ultimately cost them in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Kings on Saturday at Gila River Arena.
Given seven opportunities with the man advantage, Los Angeles scored a pair of power-play goals during a three-goal, third-period flurry and Kings center Anze Kopitar got around Coyotes forward Viktor Tikhonov for the game-winner 36 seconds into overtime as L.A. posted its first victory over the Coyotes in three tries this season.
“I thought we played well the first couple periods but then got ourselves into trouble with penalties,” coach Dave Tippett said. “What it does is it just takes a toll on the penalty killers and keeps a lot of offensive players out of the game.”
Arizona enjoyed the first three power plays of the game, but the Kings were awarded six straight power plays to turn the tide in the game. The Coyotes are the fourth-most penalized team in the NHL with 124 penalties in 34 games.
Arizona fell to 7-1-1 against the Pacific Division this season, but still managed to earn a point thanks to L.A.’s own ill-timed penalties. With the Kings leading 3-1 with 6:40 to play, defenseman Jake Muzzin was assessed a match penalty for delivering a hit with his rear end to center Boyd Gordon’s head.
Shortly after that major penalty was assessed, Kings defenseman Alec Martinez flipped a puck over the glass, giving the Coyotes a five-on-three power play for two minutes.
Antoine Vermette drew the Coyotes within 3-2 when he deflected defenseman Michael Stone’s shot from the point past Quick at 16:07. Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored his second goal of the game through traffic 30 seconds later on a 5-on-4 power play to force overtime. The Coyotes entered the game with the league’s 28th-ranked power play, but went 3 for 6 against the Kings.
“Muzz’s (rear) on Boyd’s face. It wasn’t even a penalty; it was a hockey play,” disgruntled Kings coach Darryl Sutter said of the pivotal call. “(Officials) had their arms up the whole night. It was all penalties and special teams.”
Tippett had not talked to the trainers yet to get an update on Gordon, who left the ice after the play, but he said, “it looked pretty nasty.”
Gordon did not accompany the team to Colorado, meaning Arizona will likely be minus two of its centers since Martin Hanzal is still nursing a lower-body injury and also did not travel with the team.
The loss was the first for Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue (28 saves) in three starts this season. With three games in four nights, Tippett said Anders Lindback would start in goal against the Avalanche on Sunday, while the starter on Tuesday against Chicago hasn’t been determined.