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Kings’ 4-game win streak ends with shootout loss to Coyotes

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Kings’ momentum met its match in Arizona goaltender Karel Vejmelka, who stifled them in a bounce-back performance.

Vejmelka had 26 saves and stopped all three shots in a shootout as the Arizona Coyotes edged the Kings, 2-1, to end their four-game winning streak on Friday night.

Arizona’s Nick Schmaltz scored on a power play in the first period. Alex Iafallo evened it on the man advantage in the second, leaving the Coyotes tied heading into the third period for the fifth straight game.

Nick Bjugstad scored on Arizona’s second shot in the shootout after Vejmelk stopped Gabe Vilardi. Arizona’s Clayton Keller had a chance to win it, but he sent his shot over the goal.

Vejmelka, who allowed five goals in a loss to Vegas on Wednesday night (four in the third period), finished it off by stopping Adrian Kempe.

“When we scored a goal, I just thought about a win,” Vejmelka said. “I just want to make a lot of saves so we could win and we did it.”

The Kings were sharp after beating Calgary in overtime the night before and so was Jonathan Quick, who had 23 saves after allowing at least four goals in four of his previous five starts.

The Kings caught a break when Arizona’s Shayne Gostisbehere hit the post in overtime, and they were able to kill off a penalty in overtime. The Kings couldn’t finish off in the shootout, thanks to two saves by Vejmelka and Trevor Moore missing the net on his attempt.

“I thought it was a gutsy game by our team,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “Gas tanks were running low and they checked very well.”

The Coyotes had trouble on special teams in their 5-2 loss to the Golden Knights, giving up two power-play goals and another shorthanded.

Arizona had the early special-teams advantage against the Kings, scoring on a 5-on-3 midway through the first period. Schmaltz got it, one-timing a nifty cross-ice pass from Clayton Keller past Quick.

The Kings then tied it up on a power play in the second period when Iafalo hit a one-timer past Arizona defenseman Patrik Nemeth and beat Vejmelka to the glove side.

The Coyotes failed to get a shot on goal in a disjointed power play early in the third period and couldn’t beat Quick on a 4-on-3 in overtime.

“A good point that we needed,” Iafallo said. “Obviously, we wanted two points and a win, but it’s positive to get a point going into the break.”

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NOTES

Kings forward Brendan Lemieux played for the first time since Nov. 12 after being out with a lower-body injury. He wasted no time agitating the Coyotes, mixing it up with Lawson Crouse to take a four-minute roughing penalty in the first period. … Kings forward Arthur Kaliyev missed his second straight game after being injured blocking a shot against the Ducks on Tuesday. … Coyotes rookie forward Matias Maccelli went to the locker room in the first period and did not return with a lower-body injury. … Kyle Rehman was the lone referee for the game after Tom Chmielewski encountered travel issues.

UP NEXT

The Kings host Vegas on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

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