Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 5/21/12
During yesterday's matinee, the Phoenix Coyotes finally broke through against the Los Angeles Kings, winning their first game of the series by a 2-0 score. Jonathan Quick was not perfect and the Kings offense was not dynamic. In short, they looked beatable-- a description they avoided through their first 13 games.

Was the Kings' first loss in 32 days a product of their weakness, or were the Coyotes just that much better?
"Not worried about our compete level," Kings head coach Darryl Sutter retorted in his post-game press conference. "I don't think they are either."

Sutter seemed upset at the question asked, and who wouldn't be? Most coaches aren't happy after a loss. But Sutter and the Kings find themselves in somewhat familiar territory.

Their only other loss came during Game 4 of the first round when Cory Schneider and the Vancouver Canucks shut out a lethal Kings offense. And how did the Kings respond? Only by winning eight consecutive games, bringing themselves within one game of the Stanley Cup Finals. Look for Sutter to motivate his club in an attempt to keep the Coyotes out of the series, just like they did to the Canucks.

But on the Coyotes side there remains hope. Their forecheck came at the Kings harder, and their compete level was there. After two lackadaisical losses, and a heartbreaking Game 3 loss, the Coyotes reminded everyone why they made it this far.

"That's the best we've seen in this series, that's for sure," explained Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. "We ended up getting the lead. I thought we competed a lot harder and a lot more battles. When you do those things, you give yourself a better chance to win."

Not only did the Coyotes sustain more pressure, they found a way to grab the lead for the first time in the series. Moreover, they were able to win on the strength of their best players as Shane Doan scored both goals and Mike Smith finished with a 36-save shutout.

"Smith was excellent. Our penalty killing was excellent. We kind of ground out a win," Tippett added. For the Coyotes to win this series, they will need more of the same-- a task much easier said than done. Still, with one win in the books, they have a better chance to win another.

The Kings know they will need a 60-minute effort in order to eliminate the Coyotes. They also know it will be harder now that they've given their opponent hope. "You got to win four games," Sutter explained. "That's why it's four out of seven."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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