KINGS (8-4-0) at COYOTES (7-3-2)
Last 10: Los Angeles 7-3-0; Phoenix 6-2-2
Season series: This is the second of five meetings and second in six days between these Pacific Division rivals. The Los Angeles Kings blew a 4-0 lead but recovered for a 7-4 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Oct. 24, as Dwight King recorded his first NHL hat trick.
Big story: Early returns suggest the Pacific could be the best of the four divisions. The San Jose Sharks have just one regulation loss, the Anaheim Ducks reeled off seven consecutive wins at one point and the Vancouver Canucks recently completed a long road trip by taking three in a row. The Kings and Coyotes are both off to solid starts of their own, but they're only tied for fourth place entering Tuesday's action. It's a big two points at stake for each club.
Coyotes: Over the past nine games, only Los Angeles has prevented Phoenix from gaining at least one point. The Coyotes rebounded from their loss to the Kings last week by edging the Oilers 5-4 on Saturday afternoon.
In a back-and-forth battle that saw the Oilers carry a 4-3 lead into the final 10 minutes of the third period, Keith Yandle's first goal of the season tied it and fellow defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson followed just 1:43 later with the game-winner. Both goals came on the power play.
Ten of the team’s 40 goals have been scored by blueliners; goalie Mike Smith has even chipped in one.
On the flip side, the Coyotes have allowed 38 goals in 12 games, and Head Coach Dave Tippett is concerned.
“Our game is going to have to get better,” Tippett said after Saturday’s game. “Don’t get me wrong, I like winning. Any time you can win, you should have a smile on your face. But I look at it (as) how are we going to win long-term? There’s just some things that need to improve if we’re going to win long-term.”
He added, “I like scoring goals (and) I like some of the plays we’re making. But I don’t like us giving up four or five (goals) a night because you’re not going to win in this league like that… That's a recipe for disaster.”
The Coyotes will play minus center Martin Hanzal, whom the NHL suspended for two games on Monday for charging Edmonton's Jeff Petry in Saturday's game.
Szwarz has yet to play in an NHL game and Miele has just eight on his resume.
“I’m a little more comfortable now than I was before, but I’m going to go in with the same mind-set that I did in camp — play one period at a time and only worry about one shift at a time.” Miele said.
Kings: The victories may not be coming particularly easy for Los Angeles right now, but once again Sunday the Kings managed to escape with two points. This time it involved outshooting the Edmonton Oilers 48-18 through regulation and overtime, but needing a shootout to leave Staples Center with a 2-1 win.
Mike Richards was the only King to solve Richard Bachman prior to the penalty-shot tiebreaker; he scored again in the first round and Anze Kopitar notched the decisive goal in the third round.
"You've got to keep on plugging away," Kopitar said. "That's what it is. Last game, we scored four in the first. Tonight, we just couldn't do it. But you can't get frustrated; keep on going, keep on going. Eventually, they're going to go in. Having 48 shots meant we were doing something right."
Who's hot: Yandle (1-5-6) and Radim Vrbata (1-5-6) have three-game point streaks for the Coyotes. Each had a three-point game Saturday, as did Ekman-Larsson... Richards (2-1-3) and Jeff Carter (1-2-3) have three-game point streaks for the Kings. …
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