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Arizona Coyotes looking for a quick turnaround

The Arizona Coyotes look to shake off a loss to the Flames with a game at home against the defending Stanley Cup Champs.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

To say that the Arizona Coyotes are struggling this season would be an understatement.  They have lost games to good and bad teams with the only team that they have been consistently able to beat being the Edmonton Oilers (which isn't really a point of pride since they are terrible right now).  The Coyotes are 1-3-1 in their last five games and tonight's opponent isn't going to go easy on them.

Matchup at a Glance


Los Angeles Kings

Arizona Coyotes

Points

31 (4th in Pacific)

23 (6th in Pacific)

Goals Per Game

2.64 (13th)

2.38 (22nd)

Goals Against Per Game

2.16 (5th)

3.08 (26th)

Power Play Percentage

15.8 (21st)

20.7 (12th)

Penalty Kill Percentage

84.3 (11th)

78.8 (22nd)

5 on 5 Fenwick For Percentage *

49.97 (18th)

47.81 (23rd)

PDO *

101.8 (4th)

98.21 (27th)

View from Arizona

After a game where they beat the lowly Oilers, the Coyotes were beaten badly by the surprisingly good Calgary Flames.  For a lot of the game they didn't look that bad, but hockey is a 60-minute game and a lackluster third period led to their ultimate defeat.  They did manage to score some goals though, which makes it better than the last time they played the Flames -- silver linings are tough to come by this season.

The last time the Coyotes played the Kings they actually did pretty well.  The 3-2 overtime victory was the Coyotes' first win of the season and Devan Dubnyk's first win as a Coyote. At the time, it looked like the Coyotes were going to be competitive this season, how quickly things have changed since October.

View from Los Angeles

Los Angeles is not looking like the team that has won two of the past three Stanley Cups.  Granted they are still a playoff team and they are 5-3-2 in their past ten games, but they are not playing as well as some would expect coming off another cup-winning season. They have been terrible on the road with a 2-4-4 record, and while they outscore their opponents 39-23 in 15 games at home, they are outscored 27-31 in 10 games on the road.  Granted the Kings haven't really cared so much during the regular season the past few years, instead deciding to morph into a great team during the postseason, and that seems to have worked out pretty good for them in the past.

Keys to the Game

  1. Defense. LA doesn't score a lot, granted they score more than the Coyotes do, but they aren't one of the offensive leaders in the NHL.  If Arizona can control what limited offense they produce, they can keep them off the board.

  2. Discipline. Phoenix/Los Angeles games tend to get a little chippy and that often leads to hard hits and fisticuffs.  As tempting as it is to see Kings players get punched in the face, the power play is probably the only advantage the Coyotes have over the Kings and the best way to take advantage of that is to stay out of the box.

  3. Get an early lead and keep it. This should go without saying but its easier to win games if you aren't chasing the game and you don't let the other team come back coughColoradoGamecough.

Who's Hot

Anze Kopitar had assists on both of the Kings' goals in their game against the Boston Bruins.  He's fifth on the team in scoring with 5-7-12.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson may be starting to find his offensive flair again with goals against the Oilers and the Flames, although he still needs to get his defensive game up to the standards he set in previous years.

Injury Report

For the Coyotes, David Moss continues to be sidelined and though Brandon Gormley looks close to returning, he will miss this game.

On the Kings' side, Marian Gaborik is out with an upper-body injury and is not expected to play tonight.  Slava Voynov continues to serve his indefinite suspension for domestic violence charges and recently cost the Kings $100,000 and the respect of a lot of NHL fans.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game is at 7 p.m. at Gila River Arena.  You can also watch it on FOX Sports Arizona and hear it on ESPN Phoenix 620 AM.