The Arizona Coyotes' playoff hopes took a major hit, and the team also lost goalie Darcy Kuemper to an eye injury in a 3-1 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.
Trevor Lewis gave the Kings a 2-1 lead with a goal at 3:29 of the third period. Lewis was bumped from behind by Coyotes defenseman Kevin Connauton just as the puck crossed the goal line, and his stick blade went through Kuemper's mask and struck him in the face near his right eye.
Kuemper, who came in No. 1 among NHL goalies with at least 50 appearances in goals-against average (2.34) and No. 2 in save percentage (.924), lay on the ice in pain while being treated by trainers, before departing with a towel held to his face. He was replaced by Cal Pickard.
Head coach Rick Tocchet said afterward he didn't know Kuemper's status other than that he had blurry vision, but added the goaltender "seemed in pretty good spirits" and appears to be OK.
The Coyotes (38-34-8, 84 points), who are trying to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2012, fell four points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference with two games left. They must win out while Colorado loses out to get into the postseason on a tiebreaker.
Kyle Clifford and Drew Doughty also scored for the Kings, and Jack Campbell made 49 saves, as Arizona outshot Los Angeles 50-24.
Brad Richardson scored for the Coyotes, and Kuemper made 16 saves in his 21st consecutive start
Richardson, who won a Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2012, gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead late in the second period with his 18th goal of the season, extending his career high.
Coyotes center Vinnie Hinostroza knocked down a pass in the neutral zone and retrieved the puck in the Los Angeles zone. He spotted Richardson trailing the play and centered a pass to him. Richardson's shot from the slot nicked off the skate of Kings left winger Matt Roy and redirected just inside the left post at 16:06.
Clifford tied the score at 1-1 with under a second left in the second period.
Kings forward Tyler Toffoli took a wrist shot from above the left circle, and Clifford deflected the puck as he stood in front of the crease. The puck crossed the goal line with 0.2 seconds showing on the clock.
Doughty scored into an empty net to give the Kings a 3-1 lead with 45 seconds left.
--Field Level Media