Compared to the St. Louis Blues, the Arizona Coyotes have a much easier schedule as we approach the end of the season. The Coyotes will play seven of their final nine games against teams below them in the standings, unlike the Blues will only play three of their remaining twelve games against teams below them.
But, the easy schedule won’t mean much if they can’t win the games. And that starts tonight against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Coyotes played a good game on Wednesday, other than their inability to score. They controlled the pace of the game, did a good job in the offensive zone, and limited the Wild’s chances. If the Coyotes can do that again, and actually convert on their opportunities, they have a good chance of winning tonight’s game.
Los Angeles will hopefully be a good opponent to help the Coyotes regain their scoring touch. They have only been limited to two goals or fewer twice against the Kings this season, a far cry from the defensively solid LA of the past.
The Coyotes’ power play also seems to work much better against the Kings, with the Desert Dogs recording seven power play goals in five games. We have seen special teams kill the Coyotes so many times this season, and we know how important the power play can be for a team that struggles to have a consistent offense.
Like the Coyotes, the Kings have not had a good month since they last faced the Coyotes. They are 2-4-0, with their only wins coming against the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks, two of the weaker teams in the division.
Los Angeles has also struggled to score their third goal. They have three wins this month, and they scored four goals in all of those wins. But in their losses, they were limited to just two goals, except in one game against the Scottsdale Sharks, where they were shut out.
But the Coyotes shouldn’t get cocky if they get to three goals. The last time these two teams met, the Coyotes had a 3-1 lead going into the third period, only for the Kings to score three unanswered goals and get the win.
If the Coyotes can play a full 60-minute game, they should be fine though. If they get the lead, they need to keep up the pressure and not let up and play defensively.
The Coyotes should be the fresher team tonight. The Kings played last night, losing 4-2 to the Minnesota Wild. Arizona is also coming off a loss to the Wild, but they have had two days to rest and prepare.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Michael Bunting - Bunting had his first career hat-trick in his first game against the Kings on April 5th. We probably shouldn't expect another hat-trick tonight, but hopefully a continuation of his solid play.
Los Angeles: Anze Kopitar - Kopitar is tied for third on his team in goals scored and leads with 45 points. If you watched the World Juniors you know the Kings have a lot of exciting prospects, but you can't count out the veterans.
Arizona: Conor Garland (knee), Tyler Pitlick (lower body), Jordan Gross (lower body)
Los Angeles: None
Tonight's game is in Los Angeles at 7:00 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Arizona Plus and Fox Sports 910 AM.