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Kings-Coyotes Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM
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Kings-Coyotes Preview
Los Angeles Kings vs. Phoenix Coyotes

The Skinny
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Dave Vest
Looking to snap out of a funk, the Coyotes will play the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night at 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 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.
Who's Hot
Coyotes center Eric Belanger notched a goal and an assist in Sunday's 3-2 loss to Anaheim, and leads the team with three points in the first four games.
Kings left wing Ryan Smyth has notched six points - three goals and three assists - in his past three games, including a goal on Wednesday night vs. Carolina.
Did You Know?
  • The Coyotes rank fifth in the NHL in faceoff percentage at 53.9 percent.

  • Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who is expected to start vs. the Kings, has beaten LA more than any other team in his NHL career. His record vs. the Kings is 11-4-2.

  • This game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910. A link to the radio broadcast will be provided at at 7 p.m.
Lee Stempniak

"It's a work in progress. Obviously we want to come out of the gate and start quicker than we have, but at the same time there are some positives to build on." 

• Lee Stempniak

• Andrew Ebbett

  Drew Doughty
  Scott Parse
  Martin Hanzal
2010-2011 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 06 '11 PHX 2 at LAK 3 - SO J. Stoll
Mar 03 '11 PHX 0 at LAK 1 J. Stoll
Jan 22 '11 LAK 4 at PHX 3 J. Stoll
Jan 20 '11 PHX 2 at LAK 0 M. Hanzal
Dec 29 '10 LAK 3 at PHX 6 B. MacLean
Oct 21 '10 LAK 2 at PHX 4 A. Ebbett
R. Smyth6336+2400
D. Brown6325+3800
J. Williams6235+2011
A. Kopitar6145+2200
J. Stoll6224+2401
W. Simmonds6213+1500
M. Handzus6123-3200
W. Mitchell6022+4000
A. Ponikarovsky6022+0600
A. Loktionov4101+1001
D. Drewiske6011+2200
J. Johnson6011+1800
J. Muzzin6011+0000
B. Richardson6011-1400
D. Doughty5011+2600
B. Schenn5011+0000
R. Scuderi6000-1200
K. Westgarth5000-1400
K. Clifford3000-1000
P. Harrold1000+0000
T. Lewis1000-1000
J. Quick43-1-061081.48.944
J. Bernier21-1-05612.50.918
E. Belanger5235+0210
E. Jovanovski4055+3800
L. Stempniak5314+3000
A. Aucoin5033+2200
R. Vrbata5202+2400
S. Upshall5202-1201
T. Pyatt5112+1600
K. Yandle5022-1600
S. Doan4022-3400
M. Hanzal4101+2200
A. Ebbett1101+1001
V. Fiddler5011+2900
W. Wolski5011-3000
D. Morris3011+1000
R. Whitney3011+0000
L. Korpikoski5000+0000
D. Schlemko5000-1200
O. Ekman-Larsson5000-1400
P. Prucha3000+0400
S. Lepisto3000-1000
K. Turris3000-2000
P. Bissonnette2000+0000
I. Bryzgalov42-1-191422.21.937
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