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

The Skinny
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By Dave Vest
LOS ANGELES -- The Coyotes will attempt to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight when they play the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. (Arizona time).

Phoenix (42-25-12) and Los Angeles (45-28-6) both have 96 points in the Western Conference standings, and the winner of this game will secure a spot in the postseason.

• Click here to see the conference standings.

Tonight’s game will be the first for the Coyotes since they lost a 4-3 shootout to Colorado on Friday night in Glendale. Head Coach Dave Tippett said after four days without playing a game, his players are ready to get back to competing.

“The focus out there was excellent,” Tippett said after Tuesday’s practice. “To me that shows a sign that the players are getting anxious and recognize the importance of the game and are acting accordingly.”

Because San Jose clinched the Pacific Division title on Monday, the Coyotes know the highest seed they can earn now is No. 4, which is the only seed left that provides home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

“We want to qualify,” Tippett said. “If you can get home ice that’s a bonus. This game is a big game in that direction.”

Tonight's showdown is the sixth of six between these division rivals this season. Phoenix won the first three, but has dropped two straight including a 1-0 loss on March 3.

Ilya Bryzgalov will start in goal for the Coyotes. Bryzgalov is 7-2-1 with a 1.68 goals-against average and two shutouts in his last 10 games. He will enter the game with 129 victories as a member of the Coyotes, tied for the franchise lead with Bob Essensa.

Defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who hasn’t played since suffering orbital bone fractures in a game played Feb. 17, is expected to be activated from the injured reserve list and play tonight.

► Click here to watch Tippett talk about Jovanovski's return.

Meanwhile, forwards Lauri Korpikoski and Taylor Pyatt also are expected to play after missing recent games because of upper-body injuries.

Photo by Getty Images.
Despite missing 10 games this season, captain Shane Doan is leading the Coyotes with 19 goals. Defenseman Keith Yandle is tops with 59 points, but he has notched just two in the past eight games.

Los Angeles last played on Monday and lost 6-1 at San Jose.

Goalie Jonathan Quick was removed from that game after allowing four goals on 16 shots. Quick will be back in net tonight.

The Kings will enter the game with 24 home victories. Only two teams – Vancouver and Pittsburgh – have won more home games this season. They also will enter the game ranked second in the NHL in penalty killing at 85.8 percent and first in penalty killing on home ice at 88.5 percent.

The Kings have five 20-plus goal scorers for the first time since the 1993-94 season: Dustin Brown (28), Anze Kopitar (25), Dustin Penner (23), Justin Williams (22), and Ryan Smyth (21).

Like the Coyotes, the Kings have been playing without key players in the final weeks of the season. Kopitar (ankle) is out for the season and Williams (shoulder) is expected to be sidelined until the playoffs start.

Who's Hot
Coyotes left wing Ray Whitney, who ranks third on the team with 56 points, notched a goal and assist in Friday's shootout loss to Colorado.
Kings defenseman Matt Greene, who had just nine points in his first 66 games, has chipped in a goal and an assist in the past two games.
Did You Know?
  • The Coyotes are 9-2-2 in the 13 games they've played since losing to Los Angeles, 1-0, on March 3. Despite losing that game, Head Coach Dave Tippett and others consider it a key moment in the season.
  • Coyotes winger Lee Stempniak has scored six of his 18 goals in five games vs. the Kings this season.
  • This game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM). A link to the radio broadcast will be provided at at 7:30 p.m.

Click below to listen to members of the Coyotes talk about tonight's game.

• Ed Jovanovski

• Lauri Korpikoski

• Dave Tippett

  Anze Kopitar
  Scott Parse
  Justin Williams
  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
K. Yandle80114859+116630
S. Doan70193958+467105
R. Whitney73164056-12431
R. Vrbata77182846+320102
L. Stempniak80191938+61920
L. Korpikoski77182038+181804
E. Belanger80132538+93612
T. Pyatt74181331+122726
S. Upshall61161127+54222
M. Hanzal59161026+34875
K. Turris63111324-11201
V. Fiddler6961622+74602
A. Aucoin7331922+195200
M. Rozsival6361521+54023
W. Wolski3661016-61000
D. Morris7551116-25811
E. Jovanovski485914+33711
D. Schlemko4341014+82400
M. Boedker3441014+11800
R. Klesla594711+63800
S. Lepisto514711+73700
O. Ekman-Larsson4811011+32400
A. Ebbett31134-2401
B. MacLean13213+0212
P. Bissonnette46101+57100
N. Yonkman16011+53900
P. Prucha11011+0400
R. Hollweg3000-1000
G. Stafford2000+0000
C. Summers2000-3400
I. Bryzgalov6635-19-1016220612.47.921
J. LaBarbera177-6-3485293.26.909
M. Climie10-0-01161.88.938
A. Kopitar75254873+252066
J. Williams73223557+145953
D. Brown80282856+166772
D. Penner79232245-104563
R. Smyth80212445-23582
J. Stoll80202242-74045
J. Johnson8053641-194430
D. Doughty74112839+136653
W. Simmonds78141630-27313
M. Handzus80121830-32043
B. Richardson6671219-123801
A. Martinez5851116+101810
A. Ponikarovsky5951015+23611
R. Scuderi8021315+41601
K. Clifford747714-1013600
T. Lewis7031013-10602
M. Greene692911+36801
W. Mitchell555510+42101
M. Sturm17459+61710
A. Loktionov19437+2202
D. Drewiske38055-11900
P. Harrold19134+3400
O. Moller11134+0200
S. Parse5134+5000
K. Westgarth54033-69300
B. Schenn8022-1000
J. Muzzin11011-2000
D. King6000-2200
J. Zeiler4000-1000
J. Quick5935-20-312915832.23.919
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