By Dave Vest
LOS ANGELES –
The Coyotes will try to extend their winning streak to three games and build more momentum for the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they play their next-to-last game of the regular season tonight vs. the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. (Arizona time).
Backup goalie Jason LaBarbera
, who played 93 games for the Kings over three seasons, will be in net for Phoenix. It will be LaBarbera's first appearance against the Kings in LA since the Kings traded him to Vancouver in 2008-09.
The Coyotes (49-25-6) are locked into the No. 4 seed for the upcoming Western Conference playoffs. The Kings, on the other hand, are looking to move up from their seventh spot. They will enter the game one point behind sixth-place Nashville and fifth-place Detroit.
"They're still trying to find where they will fit in the standings and they have a lot to play for tonight," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "They play a very disciplined game and a very hard-working game and they are usually a team that doesn't beat themselves. I expect another tight game."
Phoenix and LA have played five games this season, but none since Dec. 26. LA leads the season series three games to two. Both teams, however, added multiple players before the trade deadline.
The big question surrounding the Coyotes the next few days revolves around motivation. With nothing to gain or lose in the standings, will it be challenging for the players to care much about the outcomes of the next two games?
"Our motivation now is to build confidence in our group, and that is as a team and as individuals," Tippett said. "We recognize the spot we're in but we also recognize that LA could be our first-round opponent (in the playoffs), so you want to go out, do things right and play well as a group."
Jonathan Quick is expected to start in goal for the Kings (45-27-7). Quick has posted a 0-3-1 record in his past six starts and two no decisions. He was pulled from Tuesday's game vs. Anaheim after giving up three goals on eight shots in 22:49.
to listen to Tippett's pre-game remarks.