By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will conclude a three-game homestand tonight when they host the Los Angeles Kings at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (AZ time).
Phoenix (4-3-2) will enter the game fresh off a resounding 5-3 win over New Jersey on Thursday in which it dominated all aspects of the game.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett is hoping the players can build off that performance.
“You've got to recognize the things you did well, and (that) there's still some areas where we can clean up," Tippett said. "You've got to recognize how hard you've got to compete and play every night to be competitive… That will be our focus: We have to come in and back that game up with a strong effort. (If) we do that, we'll start taking steps as a team."
Mike Smith is expected to make his fifth consecutive start in goal. Smith has posted a 2-1-1 record in those four straight starts and has stopped 114 of 125 shots.
Newly acquired center Cal O’Reilly is not expected to be in the lineup tonight for the Coyotes. Phoenix acquired him from Nashville on Friday for a fourth-round draft pick in 2012. O’Reilly is nursing a groin injury (see PODCASTS below).
The Kings (6-2-1) enter the game having won five of their last six games, including a 2-0 road victory over the Coyotes on Oct. 20.
Photo by Getty Images.
LA goalie Jonathan Quick made 28 saves that night to earn his 100th NHL victory. Quick ranks second in the NHL with a 1.12 goals-against average and his play has keyed LA’s stingy defense; opponents have scored just 16 goals in nine games.
The Kings are expected to get a boost tonight by the return of Drew Doughty. The All-Star defenseman has missed the past five games because of a shoulder injury.
"I’m ready to play whenever. It’s just up to the training staff, up to the coaches, to put me back in the lineup," Doughty told the Kings official Web site.
Anze Kopitar has notched a team-high 12 points for LA, which has won four straight games over the Coyotes dating to last season.
Coyotes left wing Ray Whitney scored two goals vs. New Jersey on Thursday and leads the team with five. He also co-leads the Coyotes with 10 points.
Kings center Mike Richards has notched seven points in his last six games, and ranks second on the team with nine points and tied for first with eight assists.
Coyotes left wing Ray Whitney has 99 career power-play goals.
These two teams feature four players among the Western Conference leaders in scoring. LA's Anze Kopitar is tied with Daniel Sedin for the conference lead with 12 points, Ray Whitney and Shane Doan have 10 each and Mike Richards has nine.
Tonight's game will be broadcast on XTRA Sports 910 (AM). A link to the radio broadcast will be provided at phoenixcoyotes.com at 6 p.m.