So far this season, games against Los Angeles are must-wins. Los Angeles is playing better than expected, and they are now competing with the Coyotes for the final playoff spot.
Fortunately for the Coyotes, they had plenty of time to forget about their last game. For most of the game, it looked like the team was doing fine. But there was a near-total collapse in the third period costing the Coyotes the game.
Arizona is going to need to find a way to play much more consistent hockey. Not only against the good teams like Colorado but all of their opponents.
The Coyotes and Kings have already met twice this season, with Los Angeles winning both games. One win came in the shootout, the other coming in regulation.
A big issue in those two matches was Los Angeles scoring first. LA scored twice, and it becomes much harder to win when you are chasing the other team.
Special teams also played a significant factor in the game. There was six power plays between the two teams in the first game, with neither team scoring. The second game had seven power play opportunities, with the Kings scoring on the power play and short-handed and the Coyotes scoring twice on the power play.
After taking four points from the Coyotes, the Kings beat the St. Louis Blues twice. In the two games, St. Louis was limited to just one goal showing how defensively adept the Kings are this season.
Despite two strong wins, LA isn’t coming into tonight’s game with all of the momentum. They dropped their last two games against the Minnesota Wild, another must-beat team, with the first game ending in regulation and the second ending in overtime.
The overtime loss featured the Kings overcoming a 3-0 deficit, sounds familiar, helped immensely by power play goals from Drew Doughty and Adrian Kempe. Even though the Kings didn’t get the win, overcoming a 3-0 deficit to steal a point is always going to be impressive.
Arizona does not currently have a playoff spot. They are two points behind the Avalanche, who have played two fewer games. The Coyotes are also a point behind the Kings, who have played one less game. The Coyotes can not afford a loss tonight, and it would be best for them if they can get a win in regulation.
Players to Watch:
Arizona: Christian Dvorak - Dvorak currently leas the Coyotes with 9 goals and is tied for second in points. Arizona is going to need all of the offense they can get in tonight's game, and Dvorak is a big part of that.
Los Angeles: Adrian Kempe - The brother of former-Coyote Mario Kempe, Adrian is not the best player on the Kings roster. But he had a goal and an assist in the Kings' last game and had an assist the last time he played against the Coyotes.
Arizona: Conor Garland (questionable, lower body), Darcy Kuemper (lower body)
Los Angeles: Jaret Anderson-Dolan (upper body), Martin Frk (lower body)
Tonight's game is a late one, starting at 8:00 pm Arizona time. It will air on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and on Fox Sports 910 AM.