Slumping Coyotes Attempt To Salvage December Against Kings

LOS ANGELES CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Brett MacLean #39 of the Phoenix Coyotes skates past Oscar Moller #9 of the Los Angeles Kings in the first period at Staples Center on September 23 2010 in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

While The Phoenix Coyotes haven't had the worst month in memory, at 5-5-2 it certainly could have been better. With a east coast road trip that only netted them three of eight possible points and a stretch of Pacific Division games in which they've only managed one win of the three games so far. While there's still a game against St. Louis on New Year's Eve this matchup tonight against the Los Angeles Kings is an important one to both keeping this month long segment of games in the positive and to keep the gap between the Coyotes and the rest of the Pacific at a manageable one. 

With the game closing in we'll go to the quick notes instead of fancy prose:

  • Nolan Yonkman cleared waivers and has been sent down to the San Antonio Rampage.
  • In his place Brett MacLean was called up from the Rampage and is expected to play in his first NHL game. MacLean leads the Rampage in goals and points with 14 goals and 17 assists for 31 points. While doing so might make for a small line, pairing him with Kyle Turris and Mikkel Boedker like they had been down on the farm could be a good move. The Coyotes have struggled to find forward chemistry all season and that's one group that has previously had it. 
  • While it had been suggested that Jason LaBarbera would start against one of his former teams tonight, Ilya Bryzgalov will instead return to goal after last night's loss. That's not a bad thing as after the first period of last night's effort against the Ducks he was solid. Chalk it up to rust or just some missing help from his team but if he plays like he did late last night he should be good.
  • Radim Vrbata could return to the lineup tonight after missing a last night's game with a lower-body injury. 
  • Johnathan Quick will start in goal for the Kings. Quick is ranked second in the league in GAA with a 1.86 and has 3 shutouts in his last 6 games. 
  • Kings forward Alexei Ponikarovsky will likely miss tonight's game with a lower-body injury. 
***Be sure to check out Five for Howling Contributor Carl Putnam who will be a part of Fox Sports Arizona's live in game chat or what is called the "Coyotes Game Lounge sponsored by Jack in the Box" starting at 7:00 and also follow @jordanellel who will be reporting from the press box at arena for the first time tonight.***

Key Players and the injury report after the jump...

Key Players

Lee Stempniak

#22 / Right Wing / Phoenix Coyotes



Feb 04, 1983

Lee was all over the ice last night with several quality scoring chances that he created with some help of Ray Whitney, but also just by hard work and some nifty stick moves. He couldn't find any goals, but if he keeps playing like that he'll find them in bunches soon.

Anze Kopitar

#11 / Center / Los Angeles Kings



Aug 24, 1987

The zombie is leading the Kings with 15 goals and 23 assists for 38 points though 35 games. His play has been impressive and along with goaltender Jonathan Quick is a big reason the Kings have won 4 straight. 


Phoenix Coyotes Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Radim Vrbata other-excused 12/29/2010

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Taylor Pyatt other-excused 12/20/2010

Los Angeles Kings Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Scott Parse hip 11/16/2010

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