Kings: Coyotes take 1-0 lead in second period

After the 2nd period:

Phoenix Coyotes 1, Kings 0

The good: The Kings limited the Coyotes to five shots on goal and have yielded just 11 through this point of the game. They had a few more excellent scoring chances in the period as well. Unfortunately the best opportunities are coming from players who have proven to be non-finishers this season. Most notably, Brad Richardson and Trevor Lewis.

The bad: Kings defenseman Jack Johnson went to the penalty box for inadvertently passing the puck over the glass for a delay of game with 5:44 remaining in the period. The Coyotes, who had managed just two shots on net through that point of the period, took advantage when Ray Whitney slid a puck from the top of the left faceoff circle to Radim Vrbata in the right circle. Vrbata one-timed his shot toward the net as Kings goalie Jonathan Quick slid on his hip to try and cut off the open side. The puck found an opening between Quick’s pad and glove and Phoenix was on the board with 4:01 remaining in the period. Vrbata now has a league-leading 19 goals on the road this season. Mike Richards was later called for unsportsmanlike conduct after he appeared to have words with a referee after linemate Dwight King was stuffed by Phoenix goalie Mike Smith on the Coyotes’ doorstep. The Kings killed that penalty and are 1-for-4 on the night on the penalty kill.

The in between: Some of the Kings nearest competitors in the Western Conference got the short end of three-point games tonight. The Sharks, who came in leading the Kings by three points in the Pacific Division, lost in overtime to Tampa Bay after leading by a goal in third period. Minnesota and Calgary, who are trailing the Kings, also got the short end of three-point games but still closed the gap by earning one point each. As it stands heading into the final period, the Kings are just two points inside the playoff window.