Playoff hopes dwindle as Coyotes pushed to the brink of elimination in tough loss against Kings


Arizona Coyotes lose to Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night at Gila River Arena (NEVN/Tyler Buckland)

Tyler Buckland, Reporter

The Arizona Coyotes fell to the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 in a loss at home Tuesday night.

The opening period saw an abundance of shots for the Coyotes but none of their 17 opening period shots resulting in a goal.

The most excitement in the period came at 5:53 with Lawson Crouse of the Coyotes and Kyle Clifford of the Kings getting a double penalty for fighting.

Brad Richardson had a strong early outing from the face-off circle finishing the first period six for seven and 11/16 overall on the night.

The second period was more of the same with every Coyotes shot getting gobbled up by Kings goalie Jack Campbell who finished with 49/50 shots saved allowing only one goal.

“I Actually gave one up, but they came out hard. Our guys playing back to back, that’s never easy and obviously Arizona is a really strong team and put it to us. We battled and competed and that’s what it’s all about. They might have got fifty shots, but I thought our guys played super hard in front of the net and tied up sticks and did a really good job on their top guys,” said Kings goaltender Campbell after the game.

The Coyotes did manage to score first at sixteen minutes into the second period by Brad Richardson, his 18th of the season which was assisted by Vinnie Hinostroza, but the Kings were able tie it up with a last second goal scored by Kyle Clifford that had the game all squared 1-1 going into the third period.

Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper was hurt on a freak goal 3:29 into the third period by Trevor Lewis whose stick appeared to make contact with Kuemper’s facemask on the shot and the goal by Lewis put the Kings up 2-1.

“You never want to see anyone go down especially with the year we’ve had. It seems like we’ve found guys in every situation go down,” said Coyotes center Derek Stepan after the game.

The Kings scored an empty net goal 19:15 into the third period after the Coyotes pulled backup goaltender Calvin Pickard to gain the six to five-man advantage.

The Coyotes were unable to score on the power-play going 0-6 which has been a struggle for them all season.

“(Jack) Campbell played well, He played really well. That (goal), with two seconds there, kind of hurt us. It’s tough, but it was still 1-1. Then obviously that miscue on the breakout really hurt us. Then we were pressing. We had some good looks, a couple guys had some good looks, but we didn’t score. That’s been the tale of the year, we’ve had a tough time scoring goals,” said head coach Rick Tocchet of the Coyotes after the game.

The loss to the Kings places Arizona four points behind Colorado for the second wild card in the Western Conference.

Arizona (38-34-8) must win their final two games and Colorado lose its last two for a chance to get in.