By Dan Greenspan
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — The lucky bounces necessary to overcome poor performances have been hard to come by for the Los Angeles Kings this season, but they got some much-needed breaks against the Arizona Coyotes.
Dustin Brown scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and the Kings beat the Coyotes 2-1 on Thursday night.
Jake Muzzin also scored for the last-place Kings, who have won a season-high four consecutive games. Jonathan Quick made 26 saves.
“To get three, four in a row is really good for I think the feeling in the room, the energy level,” Brown said. “I think we have to find a way to use that and keep the momentum going the right way.”
Jakob Chychrun had a power-play goal and Darcy Kuemper stopped 24 shots for the Coyotes, who won their previous two.
Brown put the Kings ahead 2-1 just 17 seconds into the third with a shot from the right circle past Kumper’s left shoulder. Brown has scored a team-leading 10 goals in 27 games after missing the start of the season because of a broken finger, but it was just his second goal in the past 13 games.
The Coyotes controlled play in the second period and felt they had the Kings in trouble, only for Brown to get an angle on Kuemper after Drew Doughty took the puck from Derek Stepan in the neutral zone.
“We felt like our legs were there and we felt like maybe theirs were getting a little tired, so we wanted to go out for a big third,” Chychrun said. “Obviously, that’s not the way you want to start a period so we were kind of behind the eight-ball in that third period. Got some chances, but just couldn’t bear down.”
The Kings hoped that getting at least one point for the fifth straight game represented a turning point, especially after playing their worst game in that stretch.
“Tonight, we have to be honest with ourselves that we weren’t very good, especially in the second,” Brown said. “We were lucky to get out of it, whereas the other three previous games I thought we played a really solid 60 minutes. But we found a way to win, and, again, that’s something our team needs to learn how to do. Sometimes you’re not going to win every game or you shouldn’t win some games, and good teams find ways to win those.”
Nick Cousins had an apparent Coyotes goal overturned in the second period for making incidental contact with Quick prior to scoring.
The Kings tied it 1-all at 18:39 of the first when Muzzin’s shot deflected off three Coyotes, ultimately striking the cheek of defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and caroming in.
Kyle Clifford had the secondary assist for his 100th career point.
“There’s nothing you can do about it,” Chychrun said. “You’ve just got to move on from it. Those bounces are going to happen. It’s the way you respond.”
The Coyotes took a 1-0 lead at 15:27 on Chychrun’s second power-play goal of the season, a slap shot over Quick’s left shoulder.
But the Kings still found a way to improve their record when allowing the first goal to 4-17-2.
“Today looked like a game after Christmas,” Los Angeles coach Willie Desjardins said. “It wasn’t our best game. Certainly wasn’t Phoenix’s either, but I think we can play better. If we want to keep sustaining, though, we’ll have to play better than we did tonight for sure.”
Coyotes C Brad Richardson (flu) did not play. .. Kings C Jeff Carter didn’t play because of an upper-body injury and is day-to-day. … Coyotes forward Vinnie Hinostroza practiced Thursday and could play against Anaheim on Saturday, coach Rick Tocchet said. Hinostroza has not played since Dec. 6 because of a lower-body injury.
Coyotes: At the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.
Kings: Host the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday.