Coyotes shut out fading Kings
Martin Hanzal opened the scoring with a disputed power-play goal in the second period, Ilya Bryzgalov posted his 19th career shutout and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the fading Los Angeles Kings 2-0 on Thursday night for their fourth straight road victory.
Lee Stempniak also scored for the Coyotes, who have won each of the first three meetings with their Pacific Division rivals. Bryzgalov made 36 saves en route to his third shutout of the season after giving up eight goals in consecutive losses to San Jose and Nashville.
The former Anaheim Ducks goalie is 12-2-1 in his last 15 starts against Los Angeles, including a 6-3 victory that started the Kings on their current 2-10-0 slide. The teams conclude their home-and-home set Saturday night at Phoenix.
The Kings, coming off consecutive 2-1 road losses against Dallas and St. Louis, were shut out for the third time this season. They are 12th in the tightly bunched Western Conference and trail Chicago and Colorado by five points for the eighth and final playoff seed with 35 games remaining.
The Coyotes, who had only six shots on net in the first period, did not record another one until Ray Whitney took a deflected slap shot from the top of the left circle that was stopped by Jonathan Quick.
Hanzal batted the fluttering rebound over the goalie's left shoulder on his backhand at 8:48 of the second while Justin Williams was off for tripping Kyle Turris.
Replays showed that the blade of Hanzal's stick was clearly above the crossbar and nose-level with Kings defenceman Matt Greene when he made contact with the puck.
But referee Justin St. Pierre, standing behind the net, immediately ruled it was a goal. Officials in Toronto upheld the call after a lengthy review, and the incredulous sellout crowd voiced its disapproval.
Stempniak, who recorded his only NHL hat trick on Oct. 21 against the Kings at Phoenix, made it 2-0 just 57 seconds after Hanzal's 11th goal with his 12th of the season. He took off from the Coyotes' zone on a 2-on-1 rush with Taylor Pyatt against Rob Scuderi and beat Quick to the stick side with a 30-foot wrist shot from the right circle.
Marco Sturm, who has four goals and four assists in 15 games since joining the Kings in a trade from Boston, was placed on injured reserve Thursday because of tendinitis in his left knee -- forcing him to sit out Monday's reunion with the Bruins at Staples Center.
The move is retroactive to Jan. 18. Sturm, who is making $3.5 million US this season, missed the first 2 1/2 months of the schedule while recovering from surgery to repair ligaments in his right knee that were torn during last year's playoffs.