The silver lining of the Arizona Coyotes not sending anybody to the 2016 NHL All-Star Game is that the team's best players all received a full week to recuperate. When the Coyotes take on the Los Angeles Kings tonight at Gila River Arena, fans will get to see if that rest paid off.
Matchup at a Glance
|Los Angeles Kings||Arizona Coyotes|
|Points||63 (1st Pacific)||53 (3rd Pacific)|
|Goals For||2.59 (15th)||2.65 (T-11th)|
|Goals Against||2.27 (3rd)||2.96 (T-26th)|
|Power Play||20.4% (T-7th)||17.8% (17th)|
|Penalty Kill||82.3% (11th)||76.6% (28th)|
|5v5 Corsi For||56.2% (1st)||47.2% (26th)|
|PDO||99.1 (24th)||101.0 (T-4th)|
View from Los Angeles
For more on the Los Angeles Kings, check out Jewels From The Crown
When last we left the Kings, they had just lost 3-2 to the Coyotes in one of the more memorable games of the regular season. Since then, the Kings beat the San Jose Sharks in overtime and lost to the Colorado Avalanche in regulation.
Los Angeles has never need to score a lot of goals given their solid defense and stellar possession numbers, but their offense has picked up in recent weeks thanks to the efforts of Anze Kopitar, Tyler Toffoli, and Jeff Carter. The Kings will likely be in the market for scoring help as the trade deadline draws near, but Los Angeles is still sitting pretty at the top of the Pacific Division.
View from Arizona
The Coyotes needed the All-Star Break in the worst way after two troubling performances. While the first game of the two was a win, it was a victory that the Coyotes received thanks almost entirely to January Rookie of the Month Louis Domingue.
Arizona's second game against the Winnipeg Jets - a 5-2 loss - was far more worrisome. The Coyotes were embarrassingly sloppy, and somehow managed to concede a shorthanded goal on a 5 on 3 power play. For a team that has next to no margin for error to make the playoffs, performances like the one in Winnipeg simply cannot happen anymore.
Keys to the Game
- Attack Early - Arizona's last victory against the Kings came after a solid first period in which the Coyotes assaulted Jonathan Quick and kept him busy. Both Drew Doughty and Quick didn't get as much rest at the All-Star Game as the Coyotes did, so Arizona needs to make the most of the disparity early on.
- Field Competent Special Teams - The Coyotes are a percentage point away from surrendering a power play goal every four opportunities, which is almost one per game. Given how close modern NHL games are, that one goal can prove pivotal.
- Just Get Points - Los Angeles is 10 points ahead in the standings, which puts them virtually out of reach of the Coyotes barring a white-hot streak. With that in mind, Arizona needs to come away from divisional games with points of some sort.
Players to Watch
Marian Gaborik is ice-cold. He has just one point in his last nine games, and one goal in his last twelve games. With just nine goals and nine assists this season, Gaborik is on pace for the least productive season of his career.
Michael Stone had an absolutely brutal game in Winnipeg. He was on the ice for two goals and took three minor penalties. Tonight's game will be a big test of his ability to bounce back.
Matt Greene will miss the remainder of the season for the Kings. Kyle Clifford is on a minor league conditioning assignment, and could return to NHL action soon.
Arizona is still without Mike Smith and Joe Vitale for at least the first half of February. Viktor Tikhonov is considered questionable for tonight's game.
Tonight's game begins at 7 PM Arizona time. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Arizona or listen on ESPN 620 AM.