For the first time this month, the Coyotes will face a team from outside of Missouri when they continue their long homestand against the Kings Thursday night, and while they should be the favorites on paper, the Coyotes need to keep performance levels up.
The Kings are a bitter rival for the Coyotes, and beating them is always enjoyed more than against any other team. And with LA sitting bottom of the West Division, while the Coyotes have moved up to third, it’s a great opportunity for Rick Tocchet’s team to collect more points.
In the series with the Blues, the Coyotes earned an impressive 4-2-1 record, proving they can go toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the league, with the Blues currently second in the division.
When taking on the Kings, confidence should be high within the Coyotes dressing room, and that confidence should allow them to play a freer game and continue to put in battling performances - especially with the home crowd behind them.
The “Short Leash” Line performed exceptionally against the Blues, and they should remain a feature on the top line - putting three of the best offensive producers on the team together, reaping plenty of benefits for the Coyotes.
Darcy Kuemper has been performing up to, and above, expectations in his past four games, posting save percentages of .960, .930, .920, and 1.00 with his shutout in the final tilt of the Blues series.
When your best players are playing to their potential, it makes life so much easier for your team, and that is what Tocchet has at his disposal right now.
Taking on the Kings will be a challenge, they always are, but with the positive results over the past couple of weeks, it’s time for the players to show they are ready to take this opportunity with both hands and continue improving their standing within the division.
This 11-game homestand will be the best chance the Coyotes have to put some distance between themselves and teams below them in the standings, and so far things are off to a good start.
The players should be eager to prove a point to the rest of the West and put to bed the Kings, and now is the best opportunity to do so, with some strong performances, high confidence, and a string of home games making the Coyotes the favorites.