Los Angeles Kings @ Phoenix Coyotes Preview: Grudge Match Part Deux

Stephen Dunn

What do the Coyotes need to do to come away from tonight's game with a win?

After a couple of days to rest and recuperate following a wild 5-4 matinee win over the Edmonton Oilers, the Phoenix Coyotes will get an opportunity to avenge their 7-4 drubbing at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings last week with a game tonight in Glendale.

Teams at a Glance

Los Angeles Kings Phoenix Coyotes
Goals Per Game 2.58 (20th) 3.33 (4th)
Goals Against Per Game 2.50 (T-8th) 3.17 (T-25th)
Power Play Percentage 17.8% (17th) 20.0% (T-13th)
Penalty Kill Percentage 82.4% (15th) 83.3% (10th)
Points 16 (5th Pacific) 16 (4th Pacific)

Los Angeles Kings

Since the two teams last met Thursday night, LA squeaked out a narrow 2-1 victory over the Oilers in a shootout Sunday night. The Kings and Coyotes have been trading positions in the standings for most of the season now, with Phoenix holding the tiebreaker by virtue of having more regulation & overtime wins.

Although his only goal came against the Coyotes, Anze Kopitar has been a set up machine for the Kings, having ten assists and winning his faceoffs 54.9% of the time. The ex-Flyers duo of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards continue to light up the scoresheet, and Jonathan Quick's numbers are also starting to trend in the right direction for Kings fans.

Be sure to check out Jewels From The Crown for the Los Angeles perspective on tonight's game.

Phoenix Coyotes

The past five days have not been terrifically kind to the Coyotes. Both Lauri Korpikoski and Rostislav Klesla have been placed on injured reserve, and Boyd Gordon replacement Jeff Halpern is dealing with back spasms. On top of that, Martin Hanzal received a very untimely two-game suspension for a high elbow on Jeff Petry.

To fill the void, several players have been called up from AHL Portland. Andy Miele is once again on the roster, and endless pun generator Jordan Szwarz is also getting a call-up. Both players are eager to make the most of their opportunities up with the big club.

Keys to the Game

  • Survive the First Period: The Coyotes are better when they play with the lead, but they don't even necessarily have to do that. They just need to get out of the first period without giving up four goals or letting the game get too far out of hand
  • The Best Players Need to Be the Best Players: Without players like Hanzal, Korpikoski, and Klesla in the lineup, Phoenix is thin at some crucial position. Rather than putting the pressure on the newcomers and the depth players, guys like Radim Vrbata, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Mike Ribeiro need to have excellent games
  • Don't Get Chippy: The roster is decimated enough as it is. The Coyotes cannot afford to have players like Shane Doan or Keith Yandle take dumb misconducts and miss lengthy portions of the game.

Players to Watch


Mike Richards

#10 / Left Wing / Los Angeles Kings

5-11

200

Feb 11, 1985



G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Mike Richards 2 6 8 0 2

Mike Richards got his first goal of the season shorthanded against the Coyotes, and added another against Edmonton. If he stays hot along with Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar, the Kings will have top-line talent that very few teams can defend.


Oliver Ekman-Larsson

#23 / Defenseman / Phoenix Coyotes

6-2

190

Jul 17, 1991



G A P +/- PIM
2013 - Oliver Ekman-Larsson 3 6 9 3 4

Oliver Ekman-Larsson is on pace to have a career year with a .75 point per game average. They will need him to be consistently good throughout the year.

Projected Starting Goaltenders


Jonathan Quick

#32 / Goalie / Los Angeles Kings

6-1

218

Jan 21, 1986



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013 - Jonathan Quick 11 641 7 4 27 2.53 289 262 .907 0

Quick is still looking to regain the form that won Los Angeles a Stanley Cup back in 2012. Giving up four goals in a row against Phoenix is not a normal night for the American.

UPDATE: From LA Times sports journalist Helene Elliott:

This means Ben Scrivens will be in goal tonight for Los Angeles.


Mike Smith

#41 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes

6-4

215

Mar 22, 1982



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2013 - Mike Smith 11 606 6 2 32 3.17 331 299 .903 0

Mike Smith is still looking for that signature win that will get his numbers back in the right direction. A shutout tonight would go a long way to making that happen.

Injury Report

The Los Angeles Kings are currently skating with a completely healthy roster.

The same cannot be said for the Phoenix Coyotes though. Both Lauri Korpikoski and Rostislav Klesla (lower body) are on injured reserve. Jeff Halpern (back spasms) is questionable for tonight. Though not injured, Martin Hanzal will sit out this game with a two-game suspension.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game will begin at 7 PM in Glendale. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Arizona or tune in to Arizona Sports 620 AM.

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