Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 12/27/11
The Coyotes played hard Monday night. They rallied from a pair of one-goal deficits, scored midway through the third period to pull within a goal when the game appeared over and kept pressuring the Los Angeles net until the final horn of a 4-3 loss to the Kings. But Phoenix just had too many hurdles to overcome: whether it was the four regulars --including goalie Mike Smith, centers Martin Hanzal and Boyd Gordon and defenseman Adrian Aucoin -- who missed the game with injuries or the two soft goals allowed by backup Jason LaBarbera, or the inconsistent officiating that cost them some late power plays it appeared they deserved. But the result was a second straight loss, with four goals allowed to a Kings team that hadn't scored even three in a franchise-record 13 games in a row. It was a poor start to a long stretch of road games. "With the injuries we have in our lineup, we wanted to make sure we competed hard and give ourselves the best chance of winning," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We were hanging around the whole game, right until the end. I think there were a couple of goals in the third that Barb would like to have back. Those were tough to overcome. I know (Dustin Brown's goal) went up short side on him, and you don't like to see a goal scored on the short side." LaBarbera was lifted after Brown's goal, but he's still the best option the Coyotes have at present. With Smith injured and minor leaguers backing him up, LaBarbera will face the Stanley Cup champion Bruins at home on Wednesday and the Coyotes fly out for back-to-backs with red-hot Colorado on Thursday. The Coyotes are now 2-14 when allowing the first goal of the game this season, and it is becoming their calling card for defeat. "They scored early, and it was one of those games where we were chasing them for the rest of the night," Phoenix captain Shane Doan said. "In the second period, I thought we had control of the game, but we let it get away from us. We tried to get it back in the third, but it was too late." NOTES, QUOTES --The Coyotes count on Hanzal to be that shut-down two-way center that keeps the big pivots like Los Angeles' Anze Kopitar in check. But with Hanzal sidelined by an upper-body injury that might not be short term, Phoenix got a taste of life without him Monday. Kopitar had a pair of assists and played a role on three of the King's four goals, recording three shots, two takeaways and having his way on the ice. The loss of Hanzal was even harder to take because the Coyotes' other checking center, Gordon, missed the game with a lower-body injury. --The Coyotes were hoping for scoring from unusual sources against the Kings and got a pair of goals from fourth-liner Raffi Torres, each time tying the game and giving his team a huge lift. Torres said he felt more confident on the ice after going to a stick with a different groove pattern that gave him more control with the puck. That sure looked like the case when he beat Jason Quick with a shot with Kings defenseman Jack Johnson draped all over him in the first period. He added a goal on a mini-breakaway in the second, taking a stretch pass from Patrick O'Sullivan. "You could call it cherry picking," Torres said. "I didn't expect much, but Sully put it right on my tape in mid-stride." --Goalie Jason LaBarbera has been a nice change of pace for the Coyotes over the last three years. But in three starts subbing for the injured Mike Smith, he has allowed 10 goals on 76 shots, and many of those 10 goals were of the soft variety, including Monday's goal to Dustin Brown in the third period that (1) got him pulled from the game and (2) stood as the game-winner. The Coyotes are now in a tough spot. Smith was placed on injured reserve on Monday with a groin injury that might need awhile to heal. The Coyotes play the lion's share of their games on the road in January and face the prospect of doing it with LaBarbera and minor-league call-ups between the pipes. LaBarbera has come up big in the past and there was talk this summer that he would challenge for the starting job. But long-distance shots beating him on the short side or dribbling between the legs are killers for a team that scrapes for offense. --C Daymond Langkow finally snapped his goal drought by following up a Mikkel Boedker effort in the third period for his fifth goal of the year. Langkow's goal was his first in 13 games and came one game after he hit the post on an open net attempt against St. Louis Saturday. --D Rostislav Klesla has been playing well this season but the loss to the Kings was a step back. Klesla led the team with four giveaways and was a minus-3 in a little more than 20 minutes of play. QUOTE TO NOTE: "I thought we hung in there. We wanted to make sure we competed hard and give ourselves a chance of winning. We were hanging around the whole game right to the end." -- Phoenix coach Dave Tippett.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Best athlete by state all time
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Over a dozen Steelers players dealing with the flu

Mike Mularkey: Marcus Mariota ‘should be ready’ for 2017 season

WATCH: Angry fan interrupts Chargers Los Angeles presser

Serena Williams forced a reporter to apologizing for saying she played poorly

Pablo Sandoval has 'reshaped himself' this offseason, John Farrell says

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Seahawks could lose second-rounder for not disclosing Sherman injury

Kemba Walker on if he should be an All-Star: ‘Not really,'

Arizona star guard Allonzo Trier suspended for PED use

Report: NFL admits refs made crucial mistake in Packers-Cowboys game

Woody Johnson named ambassador to UK, may give up control of Jets

Report: Marlins acquire Dan Straily from the Reds

NFC & AFC Championship preview: We love scoring

Roger Goodell is a coward, but then we knew that

Box Score 1/19: Happy anniversary to the 'Tuck Rule' game

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

Clarification Please: Why college basketball needs to ditch the possession arrow

NBA hotline bling: Derrick Rose gets disconnected

The 'What's a Romo worth these days anyway?' quiz

Melo out: How the Knicks can move on from their superstar

Was Jack Capuano the right person to blame for Isles' woes?

Ten NBA players who need a change of scenery

The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 1

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

QUIZ: Name the owners of these 50 famous NFL nicknames

NFC & AFC Championship preview: We love scoring

Roger Goodell is a coward, but then we knew that

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

TailGreater: Picking the conference champions by their signature cocktails

The 'What's a Romo worth these days anyway?' quiz

Clarification Please: Why college basketball needs to ditch the possession arrow

QUIZ: Name every NCAA men's and women's basketball team with perfect regular seasons

NBA hotline bling: Derrick Rose gets disconnected

Melo out: How the Knicks can move on from their superstar

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker