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It worked once, it works again

Kings make it two in a row over Coyotes, with Jonathan Bernier taking over for Jonathan Quick.

March 19, 2013|By Helene Elliott

A little bit déjà vu, a little bit Groundhog Day, the Kings' 3-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at Staples Center on Tuesday had a distinctly familiar feel.

And with good reason: Until the final minutes, it resembled the 4-0 rout the Kings had inflicted Monday against the hard-working but offensively inept Coyotes on the same ice.

A few key details changed Tuesday as the Kings won their third straight game and 12th in the last 16 while improving to 12-2-1 at home.

BOX SCORE: KINGS VS. COYOTES

The physicality picked up and erupted in several scrums. And goaltender Jonathan Bernier was on a path to duplicate the shutout that teammate Jonathan Quick had pulled off Monday, but Bernier yielded a goal to Shane Doan on a deflection at 11:28 of the third period, while the teams were skating four-on-four. That goal ended the Coyotes' franchise-record shutout streak at 245 minutes and 33 seconds. During the second period they broke the previous mark of 226:21, set from Feb. 25, 1998-March 2, 1998. Doan scored again, with 41 seconds left.

Bernier made a career-high 40 saves and was supported by a balanced offense as the Kings got one goal in each period. Dustin Penner scored in the first period, Drew Doughty scored his first goal this season in the second period, and Jarret Stoll connected during a power play in the third.

"When you play back to back like that it brings energy and tension between the two teams," Bernier said. "We fought hard and we came up with four big points for us."

Doughty acknowledged that he was unhappy about not having scored a goal sooner, though he had claimed it didn't matter.

"I obviously was worried. I was just saying that," he said. "It's good to get that off my back. I'm hoping I can get on a little roll now. I'm kind of a streaky scorer, so I'm hoping that kind of continues."

The Kings solidified their hold on fourth in the Western Conference without Doughty scoring, but a hot streak from him could only help.

"The difference between this year and maybe in the years past, he understands what he needs to do for us to win," center Anze Kopitar said. "Until this point he didn't need to score. But he made some great plays on the [penalty kill] and in the defensive zone."

Penner had been moved over from the left wing to the right side and was bumped down to the fourth line Monday, where he played a season-low 9:13 to accommodate the arrival of rookie winger Tyler Toffoli. But he ended an 11-game goal famine and scored only his second this season after Kopitar backhanded the puck deep into the Coyotes' zone and Justin Williams corralled it behind the net. Penner headed for the slot, using his big frame to establish position, and was in place at 14:38 to finish off the backhand pass that Williams had slid in front.

Doughty got his first goal of the season on a blast from the left circle, at 6:38 of the second period. His blistering shot threaded its way through a forest of bodies and past Mike Smith, triggering a roar from the crowd and a wide grin from Doughty, who was seen asking teammates, "Did I score that?"

Apparently he did, and Jake Muzzin and Mike Richards earned the assists.

Tempers flared late in the second period, after Doan crunched Kings defenseman Slava Voynov into the boards behind the Kings' net. Stoll repaid the favor with a bruising hit on Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Doan and Jake Muzzin tangled late in the period, hitting knees and triggering a scrum. Doan, hardly a favorite of Kings fans, spent much of the third period trying to start a fight with Muzzin and other Coyotes took shots at Muzzin at every turn.

Stoll gave the Kings a 3-1 lead at 13:46 of the third period, scoring with the man advantage after Richards had faked a shot but instead passed to him.

"Overall, I still don't think we played great," Doughty said, but it was good enough for déjà vu.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

Twitter: @helenenothelen

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