Kings 4, Coyotes 2: LA wins first game as Phoenix defense falters

2013-01-27T00:00:00Z Kings 4, Coyotes 2: LA wins first game as Phoenix defense faltersThe Associated Press The Associated Press
January 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

GLENDALE - Anze Kopitar scored two goals to spark Los Angeles' top line and the defending Stanley Cup Kings earned their first victory of the season, 4-2, over the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday night.

Scoreless through the season's first three games, the Kings' top line of Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams had an extra jump against the Coyotes, combining for four points.

Jake Muzzin had a goal and an assist, and Jeff Carter also scored for Los Angeles, which matched its season total for goals to avoid its first four-game winless start since 1997-98. Eight players had at least a point for the Kings.

Mikkel Boedker and Shane Doan scored for the Coyotes, who had another night of defensive letdowns for their fourth loss in five games.

The Kings and Coyotes already didn't like each other much, and the hatred intensified during a testy Western Conference finals last season.

Los Angeles won the series in five games on the way to its first Stanley Cup, but not before the teams traded blows, including a hit by Brown in the clinching game that knocked Phoenix defenseman Michal Rozsival out and left the Coyotes fuming.

The rematch pitted two teams trying to recapture last season's magic.

The Kings' Cup defense got off to a shaky start, beginning with a 5-2 thrashing by Chicago after raising the championship banner at the Staples Center.

Goalie Jonathan Quick hasn't been the same player who won the Conn Smythe Trophy and was a Vezina finalist a year ago, giving up 10 goals in three games, and the top line had a hard time getting started.

Los Angeles also opened the season 0 for 19 on the power play and blew a chance for its first win of the season against the Oilers, giving up a goal with 4.7 seconds left before losing 2-1 in overtime.

The Coyotes have only been marginally better.

Phoenix has struggled to find the defense-first style that led the first NHL division title in franchise history, giving up 16 goals in four games. Goalie Mike Smith struggled the first two games before suffering a lower-body injury against Columbus, and the Coyotes followed up their only win - against the Blue Jackets - by blowing two-goal lead in the third period of a 5-3 loss at San Jose on Thursday.

The atmosphere wasn't quite the same for the conference finals rematch, but it was entertaining.

The Coyotes killed off a two-man advantage that lasted two minutes in the first period, about half of that with Boyd Gordon playing without his stick. They got a 5-on-3 of their own in the second period and capitalized when Boedker punched in a rebound past Quick after a shot by Oliver Ekman-Larsson hit the post.

Kopitar gave L.A.'s top line its first points of the season in the second period, taking a pass from Brown and beating Jason LaBarbera with a wrister from the slot. He followed Phoenix's first score with his second goal of the period.

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