Kuemper, Coyotes beat Kings 4-0 to stay in playoff chase
By DAN GREENSPAN
LOS ANGELES (AP) Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist, Darcy Kuemper made 26 saves for his second shutout of the season, and the Arizona Coyotes beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-0 on Saturday night.
John Hayden, Lawson Crouse and Jakob Chychrun also scored, helping the Coyotes remain fourth in the West Division. Arizona is one point ahead of St. Louis, which beat Colorado 5-3 earlier in the day, after winning for the second time in its past nine games.
"You can use these situations either way," Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "If you see that team lose, it gives you juice. And if you see 'em win, you got to win. Anything you can do to get that chip on your shoulder or that extra motivation, that's valuable."
With Kuemper rarely challenged in his 20th career shutout and an emphatic team effort contributing on offense and defense, Arizona coach Rick Tocchet saw the level of investment that will be necessary going forward to reach the postseason for the second time in nine seasons.
"Everybody kind of showed up tonight and we're gonna need that every night," Tocchet said. "We're gonna need everybody playing like that. You don't need anybody playing great or spectacular. We just need everybody to play like a good solid game, and I thought we got that tonight."
Hayden beat Petersen with a wrist shot from the left circle to put the Coyotes ahead 1-0 12:47 into the first period. It was Hayden's first goal since March 7, 2020, when he was playing for New Jersey.
Arizona doubled its lead 36 seconds into the second period when Crouse redirected Goligoski's shot in for his fourth goal.
Chychrun made it 3-0 with a thunderous slap shot on a power play at 4:19 of the third.
Kessel stole the puck in the neutral zone and went top shelf with a wrist shot for the 4-0 final at 12:56, putting him two points away from reaching 900 for his career.
Cal Petersen made 36 saves for the Kings, who fell seven points behind the Coyotes.
While their offense created plenty of chances in a 4-2 loss to Minnesota on Friday, the Kings could not duplicate that effort against the Coyotes.
On the rare occasions when the Kings did create Kuemper was ready, including turning away a backhand shot on Austin Wagner's breakaway late in the second period.
"It was just an empty night," Kings coach Todd McLellan said. "Legs. Thought process. Emotion. They took it out of us early and we couldn't recover from it."
Coyotes forward Derick Brassard got his 500th career point with an assist on Hayden's goal. Brassard has 194 goals and 306 assists in 897 games.
"It's pretty, pretty special to be out there for Brass getting his 500th point," Hayden said. "I remember back when I was in school (at Yale) and he was with the Rangers, we trained together in the offseason, so to be here now with him is pretty special. He's easy to play with, he's a great veteran, and he's great in the locker room."
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Slow starts have been a problem all season for the Kings, having allowed the first goal in 28 games, but captain Anze Kopitar said the lack of desperation against the Coyotes was especially troubling.
"I don't think that the connection is there that needs to be to win games, or these types of games where you're battling for spots. We're going to have to learn that and certainly get better," Kopitar said.
With Antti Raanta not available because of an upper-body injury, Adin Hill backed up Kuemper. Tocchet said Raanta didn't feel right when he woke up Saturday but isn't concerned about his availability going forward, even after multiple injuries have limited Raanta to 12 games this season.
Coyotes: At San Jose on Monday.
Kings: Host Anaheim on Monday.
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Updated April 25, 2021