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Coyotes Game 32 Preview: Coyotes look to dethrone Kings

The Arizona Coyotes are back at Mullett Arena and set to the host the Los Angeles Kings.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Los Angeles Kings Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview

The Arizona Coyotes are back from a brief trip to Vegas, and things did not go well for the Desert Dogs. After two tight periods, the Coyotes gave up four goals in the third period, falling 5-2 to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Without question, the Coyotes lost the special teams’ battle against the Golden Knights. Vegas converted on two of their four power play attempts, and Mark Stone notched a short-handed goal, making him the only player to score on a Coyotes’ power play.

And once again, the lapses came at pivotal moments. The Golden Knights were able to start the scoring and regain their lead with power play goals, and Stone’s shortie came less than a minute after the Yotes got within one.

But things weren’t all bad for the Desert Dogs. Vegas did a good job at shutting down the Coyotes’ top players, but they did manage to get some offense from their depth guys.

Juuso Välimäki started the scoring for the Desert Dogs with his second of the season early in the second period, while Christian Fischer got them within one midway through the third. And both goals came at pivotal points, and even if the Coyotes couldn’t build off that momentum on Wednesday, there is hope they will do that next time.

Unfortunately for the Coyotes, things will not be getting any easier tonight. Wednesday, they played the Vegas Golden Knights, the top team in the Pacific, and tonight they play the second-best Los Angeles Kings.

The Kings are a unique team in a lot of ways. Despite being one of the top offensive teams in the league, they are the only team in the top three in a division to have a negative goal differential.

Los Angeles scores a lot of goals, but they give up a lot too. Longtime goaltender Jonathan Quick has had a rough start, but the team does look to be riding Pheonix Copley, who has started the last five Kings games.

That looks to be working out for them, as the Kings have won four of their last five. Of course, two of those wins were against the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks, and three of them were decided in overtime or the shootout, but a win is still a win. And one of the wins was against the Boston Bruins, so it wasn’t all bottom-feeders contributing to the win streak.

Tonight’s game will be the second of a back-to-back for the Kings, who beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 in overtime at home last night. It’s an easy flight, so they probably aren’t too tired, even with the game lasting an extra three minutes and 23 seconds.

Players to Watch

Arizona: Christian Fischer - Fischer had a goal and an assist last game, his sixth of both. In 31 games, he is already having his third-best season offensively, and it doesn’t look like he will be slowing down anytime soon.

Los Angeles: Gabriel Vilardi - Vilardi also had a goal and an assist in his last game and comes into tonight’s game with 14 goals and 22 points. He had an assist the last time the Coyotes and Kings met.

Injuries

Arizona: Liam O’Brien (upper body), Bryan Little (ear), Andrew Ladd (knee)

Los Angeles: Brendan Lemieux (probable, lower body), Arthur Kaliyev (questionable, undisclosed), Quinton Byfield (illness), Jacob Ingham (back)

Puck Drop

Tonight’s game will be at 7:30 pm Arizona time and will air on Bally Sports Arizona Extra and ESPN 620AM.