Final: Coyotes 4, Kings 2
With defenseman Drew Doughty recovering from an apparent concussion and out of their lineup for a minimum of a seven days --and probably longer -- the Kings needed every remaining player to elevate his game even slightly to compensate for the absence of Doughty’s dynamic play and forceful presence.
Only a few players heeded that call Thursday at Jobing.com Arena.
The Kings yielded three goals to Phoenix forward Lee Stempniak in the first period and a shorthanded goal to Andrew Ebbett in the second period as they lost to the Coyotes, 4-2, to end their three-game winning streak. The game was the first in a five-game trip that continues Saturday at Colorado.
Wayne Simmonds scored both goals for the Kings (4-2-0). He scored early in the second period on a setup by Brayden Schenn, which gave Schenn his first NHL point, and deflected a Brad Richardson shot past goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov with his right foot at 17:19 of the third period.
The Kings pulled Jonathan Quick in favor of an extra skater in the waning moments but Stempniak scored into an empty net with 34.6 seconds to play to seal the result.
Simmonds, Schenn and Richardson, a newly formed line, were the team’s best players on a night the Kings needed far more offensive pressure and more defensive poise than they were able to muster.
Quick faced 26 shots and was charged with his first loss of the season.
The crowd was announced as 6,706, a sadly low number that probably reflects the lingering uncertainty over the team’s future here, a still-wobbly economy and scheduling a game on a weeknight when many fans would have long distances to drive to get home and get to sleep to prepare for school or work Friday.
More later at www.latimes.com/sports
-- Helene Elliott from Glendale, Ariz.
Photo: Kings center Brayden Schenn, right, tries to look for an open teammate as Phoenix defenseman tries to close down the passing lane during the Kings' 4-2 road loss Thursday. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images