Just when it seemed like the Phoenix Coyotes were running out of time to make a final playoff push, they do exactly what we expect from the desert based skaters: fight. Facing the Los Angeles Kings will never be the same for Phoenix since last season’s playoff, making tonight’s 3-1 victory even sweeter.
Phoenix couldn’t have had a better opening to their homestand than by beating rival Los Angeles. Now the Coyotes sit only two points away from the eighth place Nashville Predators, who beat Colorado tonight.
With tonight’s win, Phoenix can begin to put last week behind them, as it nearly doomed their chances of making the playoffs. Its victory over Los Angeles is just the second in 10 games after blowing two one-goal games last week.
The playoffs are all but in the bag for the Kings, who sit in the fifth seed in the Western Conference with 43 points. It seemed like Los Angeles had yet another one of its “going through the motions” games and it was obvious Phoenix had much more to play for. Though Los Angeles is the third highest scoring team in the Western Conference — behind Chicago and Anaheim — Justin Williams was the only Kings skater able to find the back of the net, scoring on an unassisted goal off a Coyotes defenseman in the first period.
For a team like Los Angeles, it’s easy to slip into a lull as the season winds down and a playoff position is secure. However, the last thing the Kings need is for goaltender Jonathan Quick to get used to watching the puck slide through his legs.
John Engel is a Pac-12 college basketball writer for Rant Sports and also works for ESPNLA 710 AM in Los Angeles. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy.