Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Gaborik, Kopitar in sync, Kings hold off Coyotes

The unbridled chemistry between Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar carried over from the playoffs to Monday’s preseason opener at STAPLES Center, as the two veterans spark-plugged the Kings to a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes Monday night at STAPLES Center.

The rest of the split-squad roster held their own throughout most of the contest, but Arizona hounded for three third period goals to extend the game to OT, and eventually a shootout.

Andy Andreoff, the Kings’ third-round selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and who is fighting for a spot on the Kings' roster, opened the scoring, beating Arizona’s Devan Dubnyk on what was a pass-attempt from behind the net, giving the Kings their first lead of the night just over two minutes into play.

Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik would connect for the next two Kings goals, including a give-and-go beauty early in the third period. They led the way with two points apiece, Kopitar dishing the primary assist on both of Gaborik’s markers.

Martin Jones played a perfect 31:13 in the crease for the Kings, stopping all nine Arizona shots he faced.

The Coyotes eventually found the net in the third period, and often. They fired away for 15 shots in the final frame, and beat Kings goaltender Jeff Deslauriers three times, including the game-tying goal during a 5-on-3 power play with 1:23 remaining in regulation.

After a scoreless OT period, the game extended to a shootout.

Anze Kopitar struck first for the Kings, Deslauriers stopped three of Arizona’s four attempts, and Nick Shore – another third-round selection for the Kings from the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, tallied the game's deciding goal.

Both clubs registered 26 shots respectively.

The split-squad roster that traveled to Glendale fell to the Coyotes 5-4 in a shootout at Gila River Arena shortly prior to the ending of Monday night’s bout at STAPLES Center.

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