GLENDALE — Boy, did the Phoenix Coyotes need that. Thomas Greiss stepped up in a big way, saving all 30 shots he faced as the Coyotes bested the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. In a season where they can’t seem to get out of their own way, they still sit just three points out of the wild card in the Western Conference.
The Coyotes (25-18-10) got out to a solid start, killing an early hooking penalty by Keith Yandle. At 15:57 of the first period, Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored his seventh of the season, assisted by Antoine Vermette.
Jordan Nolan and Paul Bissonnette got into it at 3:04 of the second period, with Nolan getting penalties for interference and roughing. Bissonnette got a minor roughing penalty as well, but the referees also tacked on a 10-minute misconduct penalty. The power play would be fruitful, though, as Ekman-Larsson scored his eighth of the season just 12 seconds later, assisted by Shane Doan and Mikkel Boedker.
Taking a 2-0 lead into the third period, the Coyotes went into cruise control, but got an insurance goal from Vermette at 8:47 of the period. Vermette’s 19th goal of the year was assisted by Boedker and Lauri Korpikoski.
With the loss, the Kings (30-18-6) are still the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, but are mired in a slump, going just 3-6-1 in their last 10 games.
Thomas Greiss deserves the award after his shutout, which brings him to 7-3-1 on the season. He owes a debt of gratitude to his defense as well, as they allowed only one shot on net during the Kings two power play chances.
RUNT OF THE LITTER
Not much to complain about in this game, but we’ll give Bisonnette the dishonor of this award. He got two shots on net but missed on four other attempts. We applaud him for coming to the aid of his team, but his major penalty left the squad short. Luckily, they didn’t end up needing him.
The Coyotes will stay home for a tilt against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, January 30th from Jobing.com arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for the Sports Illustrated/Fansided NBA site HoopsHabit.com and the Arizona Sports site HeatWaved.com. He also covers high school sports for The Arizona Republic. Follow me on Twitter @DunlapNBA.