Phoenix dropped the first game in the series to Los Angeles last night 4-2, which for these teams is pretty high-scoring. And despite losing, Mike Smith still pulled a .936 SV%, better than Quick’s .926, because LA poured roughly a billion shots on the Coyotes net. Quick also gave up a frankly embarrassing goal on a shot Mikkel Boedker took from center ice.
This means two things: a) .926 is now considered mediocre for Jonny Quick (well, that and an awful goal) and b) even when Mike Smith outplays Quick, Vezina-nominee and one of the most impressive young goalies in the league, that’s not enough for the Coyotes to win.
What’s that? You want to me to mention something other than goaltending?
The Coyotes were unable to score on the power play despite getting 5 chances — which makes sense, since LA had the best PK of the second round (especially when you consider how often they score shorthanded). They also did not let LA score on the PP, which almost makes sense, because LA had the worst PP of the second round. There were 9 total penalties this game, which is pretty high. Phoenix had the third lowest PIM/G in the regular season, and LA was somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately the penalties by Phoenix were really dumb, and if they can get coerced into making them at home… that doesn’t look good.
The shot disparity is also a problem. 27 shots is adequate (though not great), but to allow 48? The Coyotes’ defense needs to work on shutting down the Kings. Maybe start with not allowing Dustin Brown SEVEN shots on goal. They should feel lucky only 1 got through. Only three players on the Coyotes had more than 2 shots (Doan, Vermette, and Langkow), whereas seven different Kings did.
So: fewer penalties, better PP, don’t let shots through, pray Quick makes some more stupid mistakes. Sounds like a plan!
These teams are evenly matched on paper (Phoenix had only 2 points over LA in the standings), but the Kings outplayed the Yotes last night and have proven over the last two rounds that they are more than capable of taking down high seeds. Check out the opposing view on The Kings and I.
Next game: tomorrow at 9pm, to the delight of east coast viewers.
A.K. Adams has plenty of time to cover the Coyotes, because normally she writes about the Washington Capitals.