After shutting out the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday in a game with no controversy at all, the Phoenix Coyotes return to the valley for the second game of the home and home series. In all seriousness though, this game could be a little chippy. After the Coyotes were awarded a goal that was shown to be a high-stick, but only conclusively so after the game, the Kings allowed Lee Stempniak to score another goal right after it. That coupled with the excellent play of Ilya Bryzgalov, who made thirty-six saves in his nineteenth career shutout and third of the season, doomed the slumping Kings.
That reviewed goal got in the heads of not only the players on the ice, but to the management as well. After the game Kings GM Dean Lombardi was furious and even commented that the guy in charge of the war room in Toronto that reviews such goals was biased against the Kings when he didn't get a job with the team in the offseason and that factored into the call. He was promptly fined fifty thousand dollars by the league and apologized, but that's how bad things have gotten in LA. Rather than address the fact that they had nil on the scoreboard going off on a play that while maybe a bad call, happens. Every team has calls go against them over the course of the seasonm but there are bigger problems in LA. The goaltending hasn't been able to steal games, and the goal scoring has evaporated. Anze Kopitar is still 12th in the league in points, but he doesn't seem to have much help out there. As Quisp from Jewels From the Crown Documents here, even the players aren't entirely sure what the issue is. That's a problem. Kind of hard to fix losing ways if you can't even diagnose the issues. Whatever the problem if the Kings don't find a way to get better they'll find themselves in the basement of the West and fast.
The Coyotes on the other hand needed that game to break their own to game slide after having a stellar January prior to those 2. Still a 7-2-2 record on the month isn't bad. The only problem is the teams above us don't seem to want to lose very often. The Stars helped out the Coyotes' campaign for their first Pacific Division title those losing an ugly game in Calgary so the Coyotes need to pounce on this game and try to gain ground. The scoring committee has gotten in gear and contributions are coming from everywhere at the moment. Ray Whitney has turned it up with his passing, Lee Stempniak has three goals in his last four games as well. The committee will have to kick it up once more as for some reason the Kings are starting Jonathan Quick in goal again. Quick is 0-3 against the Coyotes this year with a 4.47 GAA and .817 sv% though so I'm not really complaining.
- The Kings are 2-10-0 in their last 12 games. Ugly.
- Ed Jovanovski is likely a game time decision. He traveled with the team on Thursday but wasn't ready to go yet. It looks promising but no news likely until warmups.
- The Kings will enter the game tied for 12th place in the West, but it's really coming down to crunch time for them. Both Calgary and Columbus play tonight and with wins could pull ahead of the Kings pushing them all the way down to 14th. Still a lot of season left, but those points will be hard to get back. Still hoping they lose tonight though just to be clear.
- The Coyotes can jump back into 4th place with a win as Nashville is inactive.
- For the complete list of who to root for or against tonight check Sports Club Stats
- LA has scored just one goal in its last 172:30 (Coyotes.nhl.com)
Korpi has really turned it on this year and while he hasn't gotten in the scoring the last few games he has created chances and been a general pain in the butt to the other team.
The zombie is 12th in the NHL in points. Protect your brains Coyote fans.