LOS ANGELES -- For Arizona, the season could not have started better. Powered by a precocious rookie winger and bolstered by a veteran goaltender, the Coyotes started the season on high note.
Left wingers Tobias Rieder and Max Domi each had a goal and an assist as the Coyotes defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Friday night.
Goaltender Mike Smith stopped 40 shots in helping Arizona (1-0-0) to a season-opening win. He improved his career record to 12-6-1 against Los Angeles.
Center Martin Hanzal added two assists for the Coyotes, who beat the Kings for the first time in regulation since March 17, 2014.
Right winger Tyler Toffoli scored the lone goal for Los Angeles (0-2-0), which dropped consecutive home games to start the season and had another uncharacteristically poor defensive showing. Goaltender Jonathan Quick made 18 saves in a losing effort.
Domi is Arizona's first round selection in the 2013 draft and son of long-time NHL enforcer Tie Domi. Though small in stature, his skill and shiftiness is in short supply on the Coyotes roster and his development will be a key to Arizona's return to contender status.
"It was fun out there, Domi said. "It was tough to wipe the smile off my face for the entire sixty minutes. My whole family was here so to able to share that with them was pretty special."
Smith's 2014-15 season was one of the primary reasons for the Coyotes' poor record, but on this night, he returned to the form of a few seasons ago when he led Arizona to a Western Conference Final berth.
"It is exciting to see and a good start to the season," Smith said. "We beat a really good hockey team in their own building."
It was more of the same for the Kings, a team that is expected to return to the post-season but has had problems at both ends of the ice in the season's early days. On the heels of a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of the San Jose Sharks on opening night, they once again played poorly defensively and could not produce consistent scoring chances.
"We need to find a way to get past the other team's defense," Toffoli said. "We know the group we have in here and no one is panicking."
Kings coach Darryl Sutter downplayed the loss, suggesting that on a different night the result would have been different.
"We probably deserved a little better fate. They scored some really easy goals to be honest," Sutter said.
The Kings cut the lead to 4-1 just before the second intermission on a short-handed goal by Toffoli at 19:04. Center Jeff Carter sped in on a breakaway from the Arizona blue line and his attempt was stopped by Smith, but Toffoli was there to pounce on the rebound.
The Coyotes took a commanding 4-0 lead on two goals in a 1:52 span of the second period. Domi took advantage of a turnover of by center Jordan Weal to net his first NHL goal at 4:43, then Rieder was the benefactor of another sloppy play in Los Angeles' defensive zone at 6:35 when he converted a snap shot from the left faceoff circle.
The Coyotes scored on their first shot of the season to take an early 1-0 lead. A shot by defenseman Zbynek Michalek from the right point appeared to deflect off the stick of Kings center Nick Shore and floated past Quick at 2:00 of the first period.
Arizona extended its lead to 2-0 on a goal by defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson at 19:12 of the first period. As a penalty was expiring to Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin, a defensive missed assignment left Ekman-Larsson alone in the slot and he ripped a wrist shot from 16 feet that cleanly beat Quick.
NOTES: Arizona scratched C Joe Vitale, LW John Scott and D Stefan Elliott. ... The Coyotes open their home schedule Saturday night at the Gila River Arena against the Pittsburgh Penguins. ... Arizona RW Shane Doan entered his 20th NHL season and 12th as team captain. With two more points, he will become just the second player in franchise history to eclipse 900 points (Dale Hawerchuk, 929). ... Los Angeles scratched D Derek Forbort, C Andy Andreoff and D Jeff Schultz. ... Talks continue between the Kings and C Anze Kopitar on a long term extension. Kopitar is scheduled to be a free agent at season's end and is seeking an eight-year deal with an annual average salary in the $10 million range. ... Los Angeles signed G Peter Budaj to a one-year contract and assigned him to its AHL Ontario affiliate.