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Kings Outlast Coyotes in 1-0 Victory
It was not a pretty game by any account unless you love a game filled with checks and blocks limiting scoring chances. For reference think of the Detroit Pistons-San Antonio Spurs NBA Finals of 2005.
But the Kings players reveled in the challenge as Jarret Stoll’s power-play goal from deep down Figueroa at 12:13 in the third period was the lone score in the their 1-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes while tying a season low of 18 shots-on-goal.
“These games are fun to play,” head coach Terry Murray said. “They’re close checking. They’re tight. Every play is important, and we’re having fun.”
While Phoenix didn’t have as much fun for obvious reasons, their head coach Dave Tippett appreciated the effort on the ice.
“We played a solid road game,” Tippett said. “I don’t think there was a ton of chances either way, but we gave ourselves a chance to win. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the one that we needed.”
The fans didn’t agree though with some yelling, “This game is boring,” and when a puck dribbled harmlessly into the Kings’ zone, “Shoot it Bernier!”
During the playoff push in a game where neither team gives an inch, it always comes down to the special teams.
“You get into a big game it’s going to be one play, one pass, one shot, one power-play. It’s just the way it is this time of the year,” Murray remarked.
Of course Stoll’s power-play goal was huge being the lone score of the game after the Kings cycled the puck around and around the Coyotes zone giving a boost to the sold-out STAPLES Center crowd.
But a lot of the credit for the win went to goalie Jonathan Bernier who stopped all 25 shots for his second shutout of the season. Of course Bernier was given the start after Jonathan Quick’s night of horrors on Monday against the Detroit Red Wings.
“It’s just a matter of making a call and trying to win a hockey game,” Murray said of his decision.
“They have some really big forwards, so especially on the power-play it was tough game to find the puck,” Bernier noted about his challenges tonight.
“Bernier had a real good game,” Murray noted. “He had some plays coming at him where he worked very hard to find the puck not only with his blocker and catching glove but he got his body in front of some shots that were outstanding saves, outstanding reads on his part just to stay aggressive and find and work hard.”
Perhaps the biggest save of the game came with 2:33 left in the game when Jonathan Bernier saved a tip-in shot from Rostislav Klesla.
“At the end of the game he was really on top of his game,” Murray said.
After getting the crucial two points, the Kings won’t have time to breathe with the Western Conference leading Vancouver Canucks coming to town Saturday afternoon.
“Another battle,” Stoll noted. “Every game is the same. We’ve got to be ready for them.”