Looking to snap out of a funk, the Coyotes will play the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
The game will be the first of six this season between the Pacific Division rivals, and Phoenix's first of three games without captain Shane Doan
, who was suspended by the NHL for a hit he delivered to Anaheim's Dan Sexton on Sunday night at the Honda Center. The Coyotes also will play minus shutdown center Martin Hanzal
, who suffered a lower-body injury vs. Anaheim and was placed on the injured reserve list on Monday.
The Coyotes (1-2-1) have not won a game since beating Boston, 5-2, in the season opener on Oct. 9 in Prague.
"Guys are working hard," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "We’ve had some close games. We’ve got to find a way to get on top of those close games. I expect another close game against L.A., so our guys will be ready."
Regarding playing without Doan and Hanzal, Tippett said: "Those are two key players for us. We'll have to do it with the strength of the group mentality. Not any individual will take those minutes. But we need the whole group to play a little better."
Winger Ray Whitney
, who has missed the past two games because of an upper-body injury, is expected to return to the lineup and play his first regular-season game at Jobing.com Arena. Defenseman Ed Jovanovski
also is expected to return to the lineup after missing Sunday's game because of a minor injury.
The Coyotes have scored just three goals in their three losses. Tippett, however, isn't too concerned.
"We’ve generated some chances," Tippett said. "I would like to see us finish a little more. We’ve got some people that have been around there, but haven’t finished. (Lee) Stempniak leads our team in chances-for and still hasn’t gotten on the board yet. But we need those offensive guys to certainly pick up the play. (Wojtek) Wolski is another one. We need him to contribute offensively, especially with Doan out now."
Doan hasn't missed a regular-season game since Dec. 11, 2008, a streak of 193 games.
"I've never been suspended and you feel guilty to your teammates," Doan said. "...I feel bad. My job is to play the game."
The Kings (4-1-0) beat Carolina, 4-3, on Wednesday night at the Staples Center.
LA has been winning with defense, holding its first five opponents to just 1.8 goals per game. That ranks third in the NHL. Goaltender Jonathan Quick, who did not play Wednesday, will start vs. the Coyotes. He enters the game with a record of 3-0-0 and a 0.97 goals-against average.
"They’re a good team," Tippett said. "They’re a good combination of high-end skill and some heaviness. So they play a good team game. They’ll be a solid team. We’ll have our hands full."
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty suffered an upper-body injury in the first period of Wednesday's game and did not accompany the team to Phoenix for Thursday's game.