LA Kings blow 4-goal lead, still beat Phoenix 7-4

Published on NewsOK Modified: October 25, 2013 at 1:11 am •  Published: October 25, 2013
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nobody said much during the timeout after the Los Angeles Kings blew a four-goal lead in less than 13 minutes.

The Kings already knew what was going wrong, and Mike Richards made sure they got the chance to fix it.

Dwight King had his first career three-goal game, Richards scored the tiebreaking goal on a short-handed breakaway early in the third period, and the Kings pulled out a 7-4 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night.

Anze Kopitar ended his 26-game, regular-season goal drought, and King scored twice during a four-goal first period for the Kings, who appeared to be cruising toward an impressive victory before a few lapses erased all that hard work.

Coach Darryl Sutter's timeout provided a chance for the Kings to gather themselves, and they roared to their sixth win in eight games.

"Seven goals — that's the first time since I've been here that we put up that big of a number," said King, who had never scored more than one goal in his first 90 NHL games. "We got back to how we play. With the timeout, you kind of refocus, go back to the basics, calm yourself down a bit and get back to playing the game."

Jordan Nolan and Matt Frattin also scored for Los Angeles, Kopitar had three points, and Jonathan Quick made 24 saves.

The back-and-forth game looked nothing like most matchups in a divisional rivalry usually dominated by defense and hard hitting. There were some big hits, but the goalies took most of the abuse.

"Good thing they didn't kick a field goal on the last play of the game," Sutter said.

Mike Smith stopped 11 shots in the first period before Thomas Greiss replaced him for the Coyotes. The German backup stopped 20 shots in just his third appearance of the season.

The Kings responded to a home loss to Calgary three days earlier with a stellar start, but then had to hang on before King completed his hat trick on an empty-net goal with 21.1 seconds to play.

"It was up and down, but that's the challenge for us, always has been," Kopitar said. "We always have good spurts, and tonight the first period was obviously a really good one, but we have to maintain that."

Kopitar ended his goal drought just 42 seconds into the game, beating Smith with a quick shot from the slot during a power play.

Kopitar has been the Kings' leading scorer in each of the past six seasons, but he failed to score a goal in the final 16 games of last season before managing just three playoff goals during the defending Stanley Cup champions' run to the Western Conference finals.

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