Kings’ Offense Comes Alive!
Just when it looked as if the Kings had put away their offense for the long off season ahead, they exploded for six goals in the second game of a home-and-home series against Phoenix to beat the Coyotes, 6-1, Saturday night, April 4, at the Staples Center. Alexander Frolov and Brian Boyle each scored twice to pace the rout. Phoenix won the first game of the series, 2-1, behind a smothering defensive display.
The Kings’ victory forged a tie for last place with Phoenix in the Pacific Division and enabled them to finish 2-4 against the Coyotes this season. Both teams have 75 points and trail Nashville by 11 points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. In a bid to avoid a second straight last place divisional finish, the Kings complete their schedule with games at Calgary (44-28-6) on Monday, Edmonton (37-33-9) Tuesday, and Vancouver (42-26-10) Thursday before returning home for the season finale Saturday, April 11, versus first-place San Jose. The Kings are 0-5, including two shootouts, against the Sharks this season. San Jose leads the NHL with 113 points (51-16-11).
Coincidentally, Los Angeles scored its season-high six goals in a game with the return of leading goal scorer Alexander Frolov. Frolov had missed five games with a lower-body injury before making his presence felt quickly against Phoenix. He scored in the first and third periods for his 29 th and 30 th goals of the season. The Moscow native tallied 35 goals for the Kings in 2006-2007. The Kings had scored nine goals in their previous seven games to go 1-5-1. Frolov’s linemates, Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar, also took advantage of Frolov’s return by each totaling a goal and two assists. The points were the first for Williams as a King. Kopitar (27-39) leads the Kings with 66 points.
“I thought I saw some chemistry starting to happen with (Justin) Williams, (Anze) Kopitar, and Frolov,” Kings Coach Terry Murray said on the team’s website. “Williams is a pretty nifty guy, he has composure with the puck, he has confidence to make plays in tight spaces, and I think we saw a glimpse of that tonight. I was very happy for him to have a good game and get his first goal as a King.”
Goalie Jonathan Quick continues to keep the Kings from being blown out. He stopped 29 shots on Saturday, including several acrobatic efforts, and 30 on Thursday, 17 in the first two periods to protect a 1-0 lead. The Kings outshot the Coyotes, 31-30, Saturday after being outshot, 32-21, in Phoenix.
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KING CHRONICLES: Officials had a busy time in the third period of Saturday’s game, calling 15 penalties, including nine against Phoenix. Two of the Kings’ three third-period scores came on power plays. The Coyotes failed to score with the man advantage.Shane Doan starred for Phoenix in both games. He scored the tying goal on Thursday in being selected the game’s top star, and tallied his team’s only goal Saturday on a wrist shot through traffic in front of the net. His 31 st goal on Saturday was his career best. Before Saturday’s contest, all Kings’ players who have had their number retired, Wayne Gretzky (99), Dave Taylor (18), Marcel Dionne (16), Rogie Vachon (30), and Brian Robitaille (20), appeared together for the first time to honor retiring Lou McClary. McClary has been the Kings’ Director of Security since the team’s inception in 1967.
By Bob Trostler
Los Angeles Kings Correspondent