<
>

CuJo blanks streaking Kings

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Wayne Gretzky proved he had enough of a
mean streak to be a good coach, pushing the Phoenix Coyotes through
a rugged practice Tuesday that included 45 minutes of all-out
skating before they touched a puck.

When it was over, the team was ready to give him a complete
game.

Curtis Joseph stopped the streaking Kings with his second
shutout this season, and the Coyotes responded to Gretzky's
tongue-lashing with a 4-0 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday
night.

"Our work ethic was a lot better, and our thirst to get and
want the puck was tremendous," Gretzky said. "It was a different
feeling going up 2-0 tonight than when we went up 2-0 against
Dallas [on Saturday]. The flow of our game was going towards their
net instead of coming our way. I thought it was a tremendous job."

Joseph, who made a season-high 36 saves Saturday in the 5-3 loss
to Dallas, benefited from strong defense this time. Against a team
that entered third in the NHL in goals (49), he faced only 21 shots
in his 45th career shutout.

"We played a real, real good game," he said. "We got a lead,
we got that third goal that we hadn't been getting when we got up a
little bit, and we played our game -- we cycled the puck, trying to
keep a lead, we did a lot of good things tonight."

Defenseman Paul Mara had a goal and two assists to help Phoenix
score a season-high four goals in regulation for the fourth time.
The Coyotes' only five-goal game was an overtime win at St. Louis
on Oct. 25.

Shane Doan and Mike Leclerc had a power-play goal and an assist
each, and Krys Kolanos also scored for the Coyotes against rookie
Jason LaBarbera, who dropped to 7-2.

LaBarbera made 18 saves in two periods before coach Andy Murray
replaced him with Mathieu Garon.

The Kings were 6-2-0 in their previous eight games, including a
6-3 victory Wednesday night in Dallas, with both losses coming on
goals in the final minute of regulation. But they fell behind after
clanging three shots off the pipes by early in the second period,
one of which the Coyotes turned into a goal.

"We don't need any closed-door meetings or anything like
that," Murray said. "They played harder than we did."

Doan, the Coyotes' captain, went in vowing to do something to
inspire his teammates after two lackluster efforts that drew
Gretzky's wrath. Doan gave his team a lead when he squeezed the
puck between LaBarbera's right shoulder and the crossbar on
Phoenix's first power play at 6:29 of the first period.

"We were all talking about finding a way to play 60 minutes,
play right through," Doan said.

Leclerc made a spectacular play minutes later, grabbing Jeremy
Roenick's long rebound off the Phoenix goal post and skating the
puck into the other end, where he left a drop pass for Kolanos at
the top of the circle. Kolanos' one-timer with 9:35 left in the
first made it 2-0.

The Coyotes added two more goals in the second, taking their
first 3-0 lead of the season at 8:59 when Leclerc retrieved the
rebound of Mara's slap shot and fired a backhander that got under
LaBarbera's glove as he sprawled to close the hole.

Mara scored on another rebound with 5:47 to go in the second.

But even with the big lead, Joseph never lost focus.

He left fans gasping when he gloved a wrist shot by Joe Corvo
that filtered through traffic in front of the crease with 2:38 left
in the second -- the Kings' 11th shot of the period after being
outshot 14-3 in the first.

"If you don't come ready to play when the puck drops, there is
no time to get ready, get going," Kings captain Mattias Norstrom
said. "They came out hard in the first period."

Game notes
Coyotes C Petr Nedved, who hyperextended his left elbow
Oct. 29 against Dallas, had a brace removed Wednesday, saw a doctor
Thursday and said the prognosis was good. "I think I'll probably
skate in five days or something like that and just take it from
there," Nedved said. ... Roenick has 30 points (19 goals) in 31
games against Phoenix, his former team. ... Doan's goal was his
146th for the franchise, one behind Teemu Selanne on the
Winnipeg-Phoenix career list. ... Coyotes LW Geoff Sanderson
bruised his knee in the second period and did not return. ... The
win was Joseph's 401st, leaving him two behind Coyotes goalie coach
Grant Fuhr for eighth on the career list.