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Coyotes-Kings Preview

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
The Coyotes will try to jump over another team in the Western Conference standings tonight when they play the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center. The puck drops at 8:30 p.m. (Arizona time).

Phoenix (27-21-9), which is riding a season-high six-game point streak, will enter the game in eighth place in the conference standings, two points behind seventh-place LA (27-19-11).

Mike Smith, who on Monday was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week, will start in goal looking for his career-high sixth win in a row. Smith owns a 6-2-1 record and a 1.55 goals-against average vs. the Kings in his career.

Smith did not play on Monday when Phoenix lost to Vancouver, 2-1 in a shootout, at Rogers Arena. He said he doesn't expect to get too many more games off.

"There's no time for rest now," Smith said. "It's 'Go Time' all the way to the end of the season."

The Coyotes are being led offensively by forward Radim Vrbata, who ranks ninth in the NHL with 26 goals, and forward Ray Whitney, who ranks 12th in the League with 35 assists.

Vrbata, Raffi Torres and Daymond Langkow each have scored two goals against the Kings this season.

The Coyotes will play minus forward Taylor Pyatt, who suffered an upper-body injury on his sixth shift vs. Vancouver on Monday night. In Pyatt's place, forward Paul Bissonnette will be in the lineup for the first time since Jan. 10 – a stretch of 14 games.

Photo by Getty Images
The Kings last played on Sunday when they beat the Dallas Stars, 4-2, at American Airlines Center. Jordan Nolan and Dwight King both scored their first NHL goals in that game. The two players were recalled from the American Hockey League on Friday.

LA, which has won two straight home games, has posted a 12-5-7 record under new Head Coach Darryl Sutter.

While the Kings have struggled to score goals, All-Star goalie Jonathan Quick has kept them in the playoff race with a 1.81 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage in his last 31 games.

Per usual, LA captain Dustin Brown is delivering hits aplenty; he ranks second in the NHL with 198.

The Kings have been very successful killing penalties lately; opponents are 0 for 18 on power plays since Jan. 23.


Who's Hot
 
Smith
Coyotes goalie Mike Smith has allowed only six goals in his past five games and has notched a remarkable .962 save percentage in those games - all wins.
Kopitar
Kings center Anze Kopitar has notched two goals and three assists in the past five games and leads LA in goals (17) and assists (30).
Did You Know?
 
  • Six of the past seven games between these teams have been decided by one goal. The other game was decided by two goals.

  • Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle is expected to play in his 231st consecutive game tonight. If he does, Yandle will move into third place on the team's all-time list for consecutive games played.

  • Tonight's game will be broadcast on FOX Sports Arizona Plus and on XTRA Sports 910 AM at 8:30 p.m. For in-game updates via Twitter, follow @coyotesgameday.
Injuries
 

  Simon Gagne
  Scott Parse
  Jarret Stoll
  Taylor Pyatt
  David Schlemko

2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 21 '12LAK 4 at PHX 5 - SOM. Boedker
Feb 16 '12PHX 1 at LAK 0R. Vrbata
Jan 05 '12PHX 0 at LAK 1 - OTD. Doughty
Dec 26 '11PHX 3 at LAK 4D. Brown
Oct 29 '11LAK 2 at PHX 3 - OTD. Langkow
Oct 20 '11LAK 2 at PHX 0D. Brown
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
R. Whitney58163652+192450
R. Vrbata58272148+151859
S. Doan58161834-83545
K. Yandle5882432+03402
L. Korpikoski58131427+91203
M. Hanzal4481624+93932
O. Ekman-Larsson5871421-12011
D. Langkow4971421-61411
B. Gordon5171320+121001
R. Torres559716+04400
M. Boedker587916-11001
K. Chipchura4621315+53800
T. Pyatt577714-41400
R. Klesla512911+92500
D. Schlemko4111011+71000
D. Morris48189-102600
G. Brule15347+4210
M. Rozsival30077+51400
A. Aucoin48246+113210
C. O'Reilly27246-7410
D. Rundblad26156-10600
P. O'Sullivan23224-4200
C. Summers12033+0000
M. Pouliot9022-3200
P. Bissonnette17101-12101
P. Nokelainen5011-1000
A. Miele7000-3600
K. Turris6000-2400
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
M. Smith4524-14-79913552.28.927
J. LaBarbera163-7-2364082.59.912
C. McElhinney21-0-02361.67.944
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
A. Kopitar58173350+01071
J. Williams58112839+63450
D. Brown58131629+44355
M. Richards50141428+15920
D. Doughty5352025+05222
J. Johnson5881624-102054
S. Gagne3471017-11802
J. Stoll5551015+14400
D. Penner435813-63510
S. Voynov334711+4821
W. Mitchell523811+33201
K. Clifford584610-58502
M. Greene58358-12602
R. Scuderi58178-21400
T. Hunter38257-4801
A. Loktionov36246-2210
B. Richardson49325-52800
C. Fraser43134-35000
E. Moreau28134-32001
T. Lewis48213-31100
A. Martinez28202-6420
S. Parse9202+11410
D. Drewiske8202+0200
K. Westgarth25112-33900
D. King3112+2000
J. Nolan3101+1601
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Quick4924-15-109213921.89.934
J. Bernier113-5-1262612.57.900
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