The teams meet for the second time this season and for the first of what will be three match-ups in 8 days.
The Coyotes come into tonight's game off a win on Saturday and two days rest. This is their last home contest before heading on the road for 4 straight games including two against their opponent tonight. The Desert Dogs currently sit in ninth place in the West (27 points). They are 3 points back of tonight's opponent and 12 points back of division leading Anaheim. Monday's news regarding Radim Vrbata means the Desert Dogs will be playing their eleventh straight contest without their leading scorer from last season. Phoenix has won three of their past four home games.
When Phoenix last saw L.A. they were handing the Cup champs their first win of the season back on January 26. While the guys from L.A., struggled at the start of the season they come into tonight's contest having won nine out of their last eleven games including a 3-1 win last night over Calgary. Tuesday's game in the only one in which L.A. doesn't play a team back to back during an 11 day stretch. They played the Flames on Saturday and Monday and play the Sharks on Thursday and Saturday and finish up with the Coyotes on back to back nights in L.A. next Monday and Tuesday.The Kings recalled their second round pick from the 20110 entry draft, center Tyler Toffoli, on Sunday. He could make his NHL debut in Glendale this evening.
Five for Winning
1. Don't get Pinned In. The Kings have a tough forecheck to handle. The Coyotes need to quick to retrieve pucks and the forwards need to help support the D even more than ususal.
2. Power Play Production. The Coyotes PP numbers have been slowly dropping. The kIngs have average PK. The Yotes are going to need every advantage against the Champs.
3. No Mental Lapses. The Kings are an opportunistic bunch. They pressure and pressure just waiting for their opponent to make a mistake. The Coyotes have been making more than their fare this season.
4. Better Goaltending. Average Mike Smith isn't going to cut it. No soft goals and a bit of standing on one's head wouldn't hurt either.
5. Muzzle Muzzin. The young King's D-man is on a bit of a roll. He has scored 3 goals and has 3 assisted on 3 more in the team's last 4 games. Keep him off the score sheet.
Players to Watch
|2012 - Shane Doan||25||8||6||14||-1||21||0||0||1||61|
The Captain has not been a dominating force, at least consistently, so far this season. However, he's started to heat up lately scoring 4 goals in the team's last six contests. Phoenix needs his physical presence in a game against a team as big and deep as L.A. is. Doan scored a goal in the game against L.A. back in January.
|2012 - Anze Kopitar||22||8||14||22||10||12||0||0||1||34|
The Slovenian pivot did serious damage in the team's first meeting by scoring 2 goals and is the Kings most dangerous offensive weapon.
Likely Starting Goaltenders
|2012 - Mike Smith||20||1133||10||7||56||2.97||542||486||.897||3|
Smith along with his team is having an up and down season. While all the Coyotes troubles aren't his fault he needs to be better in order for the Dogs to make to playoffs. Smith did not play in the team's first meeting back in January.
|2012 - Jonathan Bernier||7||374||5||1||12||1.93||143||131||.916||0|
With Jonathan Quick starting last night's game the assumption is the Coyotes will face Bernier tonight. Bernier was last seen leaving the ice after getting pulled last Tuesday in a game against St. Louis. However, prior to the game against the Blues, Bernier had been on a roll.
Willie MItchell (knee) and Matt Greene (back) are both out.