After a six-goal outburst at home Tuesday, the high-scoring Los Angeles Kings are set for a rematch Friday against the Arizona Coyotes in Tempe, Ariz.
Kings forward Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist against the Coyotes on Tuesday to extend his points streak to five games in a 6-3 victory. It was Fiala’s third multi-point game during his streak to boost his team-leading total to nine.
The Kings upped their goals-per-game average to 4.5, tied for second in the NHL with the offensive-minded Colorado Avalanche heading into play Thursday.
After falling behind 1-0 three minutes into the game, Los Angeles rallied with three first-period goals to win at home for the first time in four games this season. The Kings have picked up victories in three of their last four games overall.
“I think we decided that we were going to play a little faster because we weren’t real fast out of the gate,” Kings head coach Todd McClellan said. “We were in the right spots but we weren’t reacting real quick and they were beating us to open ice, beating us to loose pucks. Once things settled down, we played more of our game and at our pace.”
Los Angeles’ team-oriented victory included goals from Anze Kopitar, Trevor Lewis, Trevor Moore, Blake Lizotte and Adrian Kempe. Kopitar added an assist one game after he set the Kings’ all-time record for games played.
In his second start of the season, Los Angeles goalie Pheonix Copley made 24 saves and the effort could earn him another start against the Coyotes on Friday. Copley, along with the Kings’ penalty-kill unit, held Arizona to 1-of-4 on the power play.
“So far we have been doing really well on the PK,” said Copley, after the Kings gave up their third power-play goal in 23 opponents’ chances. “We had some breakdowns, but when you change (the penalty-kill strategy) that is to be expected. We’re ironing those out.”
After the Coyotes opened the season 3-3-0, with five of their first six games on the road, they now have five of their next six games at home in their intimate 4,600-seat arena on the Arizona State campus.
The Coyotes had an optimistic start against the Kings on Tuesday, getting an early goal from Jack McBain. But the Kings responded with goals from Kopitar, Lewis and Moore in a stretch of 4:21 to take a 3-1 lead 12:34 into the game.
The Kings’ scoring burst forced Coyotes goalie Connor Ingram from the game and he was replaced by Karel Vejmelka. Ingram made six saves during the early onslaught, while Vejmelka added 16 saves the rest of the way.
“I don’t think it was on him,” Coyotes head coach Andre Tourigny said of Ingram’s early removal. “The three goals were cross-ice plays, good execution from them, but it was more of a matter of changing momentum and at some point, trying to get some luck.”
Vejmelka is expected to be in goal for the rematch. Since the Coyotes rallied to score three goals Tuesday, to match the early number Ingram allowed, the loss went to Vejmelka, making him 2-2-0 this season despite starting just three games.