The Arizona Coyotes are back in action tonight, and their homestand continues against the
St. Louis Blues Los Angeles Kings.
Arizona should come into this game with a lot of confidence. Not only did they win their last match 1-0, but they also won their seven-game unofficial series against the Blues.
Tonight will be the first time since January 28th that the Coyotes will be playing a team that isn’t the Blues. The good news is Arizona comes in acclimated to a higher level of competition, the bad news is that they may enter tonight’s overconfident.
Arizona showed in their series against the Blues that they can score while still being defensively solid. But that series also illustrates that the team still has some consistency issues.
Los Angeles comes into tonight’s game with its own momentum. They won their past two games, a 4-0 win against the Minnesota Wild and a 6-2 win against the San Jose Sharks.
Both teams have given the Coyotes issues in the past, and Minnesota is probably the major roadblock for the Coyotes if they want to make the playoffs this year.
A big part of the Kings’ success against the Wild was Jonathon Quick.
Jonathan Quick made 28 saves to earn his first career shutout against the Wild. He has now recorded a shutout against 23 different franchises. Only three active goaltenders have done so against more: Marc-Andre Fleury (26), Tuukka Rask (25) and Jaroslav Halak (25). #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/J6edKLjO5v— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 17, 2021
Quick hasn’t been the best goaltender this season, and he only has a save percentage above .920 in two of his seven games. But if he is on, he is stellar, and he could add some extra difficulties for the Desert Dogs.
We have seen how important special teams can be this season, and the Kings have advantages in both areas.
Both the Kings and Coyotes have very similar penalty kills. The Kings is slightly better, killing 84.8% of power plays, while the Coyotes are at 84.6%. LA has only allowed one power play goal in their past three games and gave their opponents only had seven opportunities in those three games.
Los Angeles also has the better power play. The Kings’ power play is tied for 10th in the NHL at 25.0%, while the Coyotes are 19th with 19.6%. They have power play goals in their last three games and scored three against the Sharks on February 11th. That may be the quality of competition boosting their power play, but still, the Kings are finding ways to score and win.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Clayton Keller - Keller had the lone Coyotes' goal in the last game and has six points in his last five games. But he always plays his best against St. Louis, so it will be interesting to see how he plays against a different team.
Los Angeles: Dustin Brown - I'm not sure there is a player that Coyotes fans dislike more than Dustin Brown. But his career seems to have turned around, and he leads the Kings with seven goals and has five points in his last three games.
Arizona: Niklas Hjalmarsson (questionable, upper body), Drake Caggiula (lower body)
Los Angeles: Martin Frik (questionable, lower body), Andreas Athanasiou (COVID protocol), Sean Walker (nose)
Tonight's game is at 7 pm Arizona time at Gila River Arena. It will air on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports 910 AM.