Copley makes 20 saves, Kings hang on to defeat Canadiens

MONTREALPheonix Copley made 20 saves for the Los Angeles Kings, who held on for a 4-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Center on Saturday.

Copley is 2-0-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average and .927 save percentage since being recalled from Ontario of the American Hockey League on Dec. 1.

“It was kind of a weird game,” Copley said. “There were a lot of blocks where I wasn’t getting a lot of work, so it was kind of more one of the games where you have to be mentally sharp. The guys were doing a really good job with puck possession and playing in the other end. … The guys battled hard, and it was a good win for us.”

Anze Kopitar and Viktor Arvidsson scored 19 seconds apart in the first period for Los Angeles (15-11-4), which was coming off a 5-0 loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.

“Good response by the group as a whole,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “Whether you were an eight, nine-minute man tonight or a 20-minute man, you were responsible for your game. I think we came to the rink and we trusted each other tonight. We didn’t do that in Toronto, and it showed on the ice.”

Mike Hoffman and Cole Caufield scored, and Jake Allen made 31 saves for Montreal (13-12-2), which has lost three of four (1-2-1).

“They’re a well-structured team, we all know that,” Allen said. “I think they’re a good hockey club. I know we don’t see them often, but they’ve got some good veterans, some good chemistry over there, and I think their neutral zone is tough to crack. That 1- 3-1 forecheck is tough to crack, and they’re good at possessing the puck in the O-zone. We saw that tonight, creating chances from that.”

Video: [email protected]: Kopitar, Arvidsson score 19 seconds apart

Kopitar gave the Kings a 1-0 lead at 9:34 of the first when he one-timed a shot under Allen’s left pad off a quick backhand pass from Kevin Fiala from behind the net.

Arvidsson then made it 2-0 at 9:53. He received a pass from Phillip Danault at the top of the slot and scored with a wrist shot glove side.

Los Angeles held a 16-5 advantage in shots in the first.

“We were happy that the period ended,” Montreal coach Martin St. Louis said.

Alexander Edler extended the lead to 3-0 at 9:12 of the third with his first goal in 26 games this season.

“It ended up being the winner, and anytime that happens to a team, one, we get a little bit of a lift, and it sets them back for a couple of minutes at least and buys you time,” McLellan said.

Hoffman scored at 11:41 to make it 3-1 in his return after missing eight games due to a lower-body injury.

Caufield drew the Canadiens to within 3-2 with 2:28 remaining when he scored on a shot from the right corner.

Video: [email protected]: Caufield cuts the lead to 3-2 late in the 3rd

Adrian Kempe shot a backhand the length of the ice into an empty net with 37 seconds remaining for the 4-2 final.

“They sit back and wait for you to dump the puck, and they’ve got a guy waiting for it,” Caufield said. “So it’s hard to get pucks back with that. It’s not really fun hockey, in my opinion, but you’ve got to find ways to beat it. And there’s some times where we did, but it’s obviously a tough thing to crack. “

NOTES: The Kings have scored 101 goals in 30 games, the first time they have scored 100 goals through the first 30 games since 2005-06, when they scored 102. … Copley is the first goalie to win his first two games for Los Angeles since Jhonas Enroth won his first three games in 2015-16. … Montreal celebrated an apparent goal by Caufield at 5:13 of the third, but video review showed that his wrist shot hit the crossbar and the puck never entered the net. “I saw the snow on the post so I knew it didn’t go in,” Copley said. … Caufield has scored 11 goals in 13 home games. … Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson did not play because of a lower-body injury. He is day to day.

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