L.A. Kings Eliminated From Stanley Cup Playoff Contention After 2-1 Loss to Coyotes

The Los Angeles Kings were unable to overcome two early Coyote goals as they were officially eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention by virtue of their 2-1 loss on Sunday night at Staples Center.

It's officially over. 

The Los Angeles Kings were mathematically eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention after they were defeated by the Arizona Coyotes, 2-1, on Sunday night at Staples Center. 

The Kings were unable to overcome two early goals by the Coyotes, including a second-chance goal in the final 15 seconds of the first period. 

Seconds after the Kings challenged an early power-play goal by Arizona because of a missed offsides call, Burmistrov was waiting on the far post for Ekman-Larsson's pass to put the Coyotes ahead 1-0 with 13 seconds left in the opening period. Pouncing on the rebound after Quick stopped his initial shot, Burmistrov scored his third power-play goal of the season.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Quick, but not quick enough. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BeatLA?src=hash">#BeatLA</a> <a href="https://t.co/GgL6PonW86">pic.twitter.com/GgL6PonW86</a></p>&mdash; Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) <a href="https://twitter.com/ArizonaCoyotes/status/848738636493332481">April 3, 2017</a></blockquote>


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Anthony Duclair then followed up his own shot early in the second, recording his first goal since Dec. 29th, to give the Coyotes an insurance goal and silence the Staples Center crowd. 

Kings' defenseman, Alec Martinez, scored on a bizarre goal from beyond the blue line that kept the Kings playoff chances alive, but L.A. was unable to convert on three consecutive power play opportunities at the end of the third period and lost 2-1. 

"With the amount of power plays we had in the third period, we should have finished them," said Kings' captain Anze Kopitar. "It's not good enough to score one goal at home, but that's been the story of the whole season. It's a very empty feeling and a very sour taste."

Martinez intended to dump the puck into the Coyotes' zone on a slap shot from center ice when it deflected off Jordan Martinook at the blue line and into the open goal, cutting the Kings' deficit to 2-1 with 15:39 remaining. Smith was leaving his crease to play the puck behind the net and could not respond in time to the unlikely change in direction.

Jonathan Quick made 13 saves for Los Angeles, which needed to win its final five games and have Nashville lose each of its last three in regulation in order to reach the playoffs.

"We knew what the situation was last few games," continued Kopitar. "We gave it our all, it wasn't good enough."

Mike Smith made 34 saves for the Coyotes, who followed an impressive win over the Washington Capitals, by playing the role of spoiler against the Kings.

"We want to win. We want to beat somebody, and when you have the chance to eliminate a team out of the playoffs, we have to take our chance," said Burmistrov.

"They were on their last life," added Smith. "We knew we were in for a good battle tonight, and it turned out to be one."

Not even a glimmer of hope to make the postseason could energize the Kings' dismal offense, which was held to two goals or fewer for the ninth time in their last 11 games. Los Angeles rarely challenged Smith, who has won four straight at Staples Center.

The highlight of the night came when Quick delivered a remarkable kick save in the opening period to deny Peter Holland's shot into an open net, sticking out his left leg parallel to the ice and keeping out the puck with his pads.

"Other teams are finding ways to win 2-1 or 1-0, from my end, I wonder why we can't win 1-0 or 2-1. I don't think it's all on the goal scoring."

The Kings have won just one postseason game in the last three seasons since winning two Stanley Cup trophies in three years from 2012-14. The Kings failed to make the playoffs in 2015, were elminated by the Sharks in the first round 4-1, last season, and missed the playoffs again this season.

Referee Mike Leggo officiated his 1,213th and final game of his 21-season career and the Kings (and their mascot Bailey) paid tribute to Leggo during a timeout in the third period.


The Kings host the Oilers on Tuesday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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