Kings clinch playoff berth with shootout victory over Coyotes
The fourth time was the charm for the Kings, who clinched a playoff berth Wednesday night with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at a jubilant Staples Center.
The Kings’ clinching had been delayed twice when Dallas won and once more by their own loss at San Jose. But the Kings secured their second consectuive postseason spot when Michal Handzus and Jarret Stoll scored in the shootout but only Radim Vrbata could beat Jonathan Quick, who is 10-0 in shootouts this season.
The Coyotes still need a point to secure a spot among the top eight in the Western Conference.
With two games left in the regular season — a home-and-home series with the Ducks that begins Friday at Anaheim — the Kings can now focus on improving their seeding. They moved up to fourth in the West, a point ahead of Nashville, which also has two games left.
"I’m real excited. I can’t thank our fans enough," said Kyle Clifford, who combined with Brad Richardson and Wayne Simmonds to generate energy that the crowd appreciated and applauded.
We'll have more on the game soon at latimes.com/sports.
-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Kings left wing Kyle Clifford scores on Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov during the second period Wednesday night at Staples Center. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press