GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Alex Iafallo scored two goals, Cal Peterson stopped 22 shots and the Los Angeles Kings beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-2 on Saturday night for their fourth straight victory.
The Kings have earned points in five straight games since a five-game losing streak.
“You lose five in a row, it’s hard to keep the energy up at practice, it’s hard to keep the energy up in the room,” said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, who had two assists. “Everyone’s not happy because you’re losing games. When you’re winning games, everything’s just more fun.”
The Kings beat the Coyotes 3-2 on Thursday when Gabriel Vilardi scored in the fourth round of a shootout. Vilardi came through again, beating Darcy Kuemper with a wrister shortly after Arizona’s Phil Kessel tied it.
Trevor Moore also scored for Los Angeles, and Iafallo sealed it with an empty-net goal.
“Arizona defended really well. They didn’t give us anything,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “It was a patient game. We kept talking about that: don’t get impatient. Eventually it went our way.”
Kessel scored for the second straight game and had an assist. Derick Brassard also scored, and Kuemper had 19 saves.
“Some guys looked tired, they weren’t thinking mentally,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. “Overall, they didn’t have a lot of chances. The ones they did, they scored on.”
The Kings jumped on the Coyotes in Thursday’s game with two goals in the first period. Arizona rallied with two goals in the second, but wanted to get off to a better start in the rematch.
The Coyotes had a good early jump and Peterson was tested early, nearly doing the splits to get a pad on John Hayden’s shot from the slot. Arizona closed the period with a flurry of shots, but Peterson was sharp.
Iafallo scored a power-play goal early in the second period, beating Kuemper glove side from the left circle — not long after Arizona’s Tyler Pitlick hit the post.
Brassard answered with a power-play goal of his own, scoring from the right circle on a shot that hit Kings defenseman Olli Maatta out front.
The Coyotes close the second period and opened the third on the power play after Conor Garland was cross-checked twice, including one to the face by Austin Strand.
Instead of taking advantage, Arizona gave up a short-handed goal 52 seconds into the third period. Moore had it, beating Kuemper after the puck caromed right to him off Arizona defenseman Jakob Chychrun’s stick.
Kessel tied it on a power play midway through the third period on a wrister from the left circle through Pitlick’s screen.
Vilardi beat Kuemper with a wrister less than three minutes later to put the Kings back up.
“We’ve got to be a little bit smarter with a decisions with the puck, our line changes in general,” Brassard said. “We’ve got to learn from it.”
Doughty has been on a roll the past two weeks with a goal and six assists in five games.
Winning has played a big role.
“I definitely feel the momentum,” he said. “When I’m grumpy — at the other team — I’m playing my best, engaged in the game and feel much better in myself.”
SHORT LEASH SHORTED
Arizona’s “Short Leash Line” of Garland, Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz had been playing well since Tocchet put them together.
The trio accounted for nine goals and 11 assists during a seven-game series against St. Louis, and teamed up for one of the goals in the first games against the Kings.
The Short Leash came up short Saturday night.
“They weren’t good tonight, obviously,” Tocchet said. “They weren’t good structurally and mentally they were doing some stuff they don’t do. We rely on that line too much. They’re not going to be great every game. They had a tough night, so we need some other lines to pick it up.”
Kings: At St. Louis on Monday and Wednesday nights.
Coyotes: Host Anaheim on Monday and Wednesday nights.
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