By Dave Vest
GLENDALE -- The Coyotes will try to even their best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series vs. Los Angeles tonight when they host Game 2 vs. the Kings at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time).
LA won Game 1 on Sunday night, 4-2, to quickly wrestle home-ice advantage away from Phoenix.
“It's not an ideal situation, but something you have to deal with,” Coyotes center Antoine Vermette said before Tuesday’s morning skate. “… You really have to focus for the next one. We've looked at some stuff, practiced a few things. I'm sure tonight we'll have a better team game."
Mike Smith, who stopped 44 of the 47 shots he faced in Game 1, will be back in goal for the Coyotes, who are 3-0 in the 2012 playoffs in games played after losses. In two of those games, Smith answered a loss with a shutout (Game 6 vs. Chicago and Game 4 vs. Nashville).
Phoenix was outshot 48-27 in Game 1 and lost 57 percent of the face-offs. Plus, the Coyotes were 0 for 5 on the power play and haven't scored a power-play goal since Game 1 against Nashville (0 for 14 in the last five games).
"We've got to raise our level and we'll be fine,” Coyotes center Martin Hanzal said. “It's frustrating because you get the home advantage and we lost Game 1… This is a time if you're not going to raise your level you're going to go home. We've got to make sure everybody is on the same page and we raise our level."
Defenseman Adrian Aucoin, who missed Game 1 because of an undisclosed injury, skated with teammates on Monday and Tuesday. He will be a game-time decision for Game 2.
Photo by Getty Images.
The Kings are looking for their seventh straight road win in the 2012 playoffs and their seventh straight win overall.
Jonathan Quick, who made 25 saves to win Game 1, will be back in goal for LA, which is 9-1 in the playoffs this season.
LA set the tone for Game 1 by putting 17 shots on goal in the first period and holding the Coyotes to just four.
“Tonight we just want to make sure we come out the same way,” Kings forward Anze Kopitar said. “We know they're going to come out stronger than they did in Game 1. So we’ve got to make sure we're ready.”
The Kings’ top line of Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams combined for two goals and two assists in Game 1. Meanwhile, LA is excelling on the penalty kill; opponents have failed to score a goal on their last 24 power plays.
► Click here to watch Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett's press conference before Tuesday's morning skate.
Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris has notched two goals and one assist in his last two games and leads the team with 31 blocked shots.
Kings captain Dustin Brown notched a goal and an assist in Game 1 and leads the team with 13 playoff points (seven goals, six assists) and a plus-11 rating.
The Coyotes have not lost two straight games this postseason, and have not lost two straight games (in regulation) overall since March 5 and 6.
Coyotes winger Ray Whitney will play in his 100th NHL postseason game tonight.
Game 2 will be televised on NBC Sports Network and will be broadcast on XTRA Sports 910 AM at 6 p.m. For in-game updates via Twitter, follow @coyotesgameday.