After a two-day holiday break the Phoenix Coyotes came into Monday's game with the Los Angeles Kings with a depleted roster. Starting goaltender Mike Smith is still nursing a lower-body injury on injured reserve and Martin Hanzal, Adrian Aucoin, and newcomer Boyd Gordon were also scratches Monday against the Kings.
In situations like this coach Dave Tippett usually looks to shuffle the lines up and hope for the leadership of his veteran laden roster to come through, but Monday night this was not enough for the Coyotes to sneak out of Staples Center with a win. Back to back goals from Willie Mitchell and Dustin Brown in the third would end up downing the limping Coyotes.
The three Coyote goals Monday came from veteran off season acquisitions. Raffi Torres came onto the ice like he was shot out of a cannon, throwing his body around and putting in two goals. One of Torres goals came with a defender draped all over him, and he still managed to get off a rocket top corner shot past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. The hard working center David Langkow would add his fifth of the year.
Jason LaBarbera started in net once again for the Coyotes, but unfortunatly was the victim of some long distance sniping that would eventually send him to the bench in the third. LaBarbera would let in four goals on 29 shots.
Curtis McElhinney, who was called up from the Coyotes AHL affiliate Portland Pirates Monday, came in for LaBarbera. McElhinney has appeared in 21 games with the Pirates this season, posting a record of 9-11-0-0 with a 2.95 goals against average and a .910 save percentage.
McElhinney would get a lot of help from his post Monday. At one point the Kings would hit the post twice in less than 30 seconds. McElhinney would end the games with six saves and no goals against.
Patrick O'Sullivan came up from Portland Monday as well and looked good in his 15 minutes of playing time. He posted a plus two rating and tallied an assist on Torres' second goal of the night with a beautiful pass that gave him a wide open breakaway. O'Sullivan was originally drafted by Minnesota in the second round (56th overall) in the 2003 Entry Draft.
Monday also marked a milestone for a fan favorite in Phoenix. Paul "Biznasty" Bissonnette played in his 100th game with the Coyotes.
The Coyotes battled till the final buzzer against the Kings and put in a great team effort; unfortunately, the next three weeks only include two home games. The Coyotes do have a 11-6-1 road record, but that kind of travel will fatigue any team, especially with the injuries piling up.
The Coyotes will be at home Wednesday to face the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. Fox Sports Plus will carry the game and the puck drops at 7 p.m. Arizona time.