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Preview: Kings at Coyotes

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM

NHL.com | Dave Vest

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Preview: Kings at Coyotes
Los Angeles Kings vs. Phoenix Coyotes

Season series: This is first of five meetings between these Pacific Division clubs. The Kings won the six-game series last season, 3-1-2.

Big story: This is the first game between these rivals since Los Angeles bounced Phoenix from the 2012 Western Conference Final with a heated victory in Game 5 in Glendale en route to winning the Stanley Cup championship. The Kings have begun defense of their title with three straight losses and currently rank 15th in the Western Conference standings. Despite earning a point in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, the Kings have been outscored 10-4 in their three setbacks. Jonathan Quick, who earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, sports a 3.33 goals-against average and .891 save percentage.

Note: CLICK HERE TO WATCH A PREVIEW OF TONIGHT'S GAME

Team Scope:

Photo by Getty Images.

Coyotes: The injury-riddled Coyotes received goals from Steve Sullivan, Antoine Vermette and Lauri Korpikoski in Thursday's 5-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Jason LaBarbera, starting in place of the injured Mike Smith, stopped 30 shots. LaBarbera was solid through the first two periods, picking up where he left off on Wednesday when he stopped 21 of 22 shots against Columbus, but the Sharks struck for two goals in the final 1:53 of the game to snap a 3-3 tie.

"It's hard to stomach because there's no time for growing pains there," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "...We put ourselves in good position, and we couldn't close it out. We'll have to find some people who will be able to do that."

Coyotes captain Shane Doan, for one, is eager to play the Kings for the first time since last year's playoffs.

"There's no way you can forget everything (from the playoffs)," Doan said. "You've got to make sure you go out there and control your emotion and play a good game and do whatever you can to help your team win."

Goalie Jason LaBarbera, who played 93 games for the Kings from 2005-09, will start in in place of injured Mike Smith, who is day-to-day.

Center Martin Hanzal will return to the lineup after missing the past two games because of a lower-body injury.

Kings: The absence of injured defensemen Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene has meant much more ice time for Drew Doughty, who played nearly 30 minutes against Colorado on Tuesday and 33:25 against Edmonton on Thursday. In three games, Doughty has no points, eight shots on net, and a minus-1 rating while averaging a team-high 29:42 of ice time.

"If you're going to regain your composure it's OK to be a little desperate, but not OK to panic," defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "It hasn't gone the way we'd like certainly, but you have to try to bounce back."

Who's hot: Sullivan notched his first hat trick since Dec. 14, 2009, on Wednesday in a victory over Columbus and then scored once more in the Coyotes' loss to the Sharks on Thursday. ... Vermette, Mikkel Boedker, Dave Moss and defenseman Derek Morris all extended their point streaks to three games on Thursday. ... Kyle Clifford has one goal, four points and a plus-4 rating despite the tough start for the Kings.

Injury report: The Coyotes were without center Martin Hanzal and defenseman Rostislav Klesla, both day-to-day with lower body injuries, on Thursday. Smith (lower body) remains questionable. Also, center Matthew Lombardi suffered an upper body injury against San Jose and did not return for the third period. ... Greene, who underwent back surgery on Thursday, has been placed on injured reserve by the Kings and will likely miss the remainder of the season. Mitchell (knee surgery) practiced this week and is with the team on its current three-game road swing.

2012-2013 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 02 '13LAK 1 at PHX 3M. Lombardi
Mar 19 '13PHX 2 at LAK 3J. Stoll
Mar 18 '13PHX 0 at LAK 4J. Muzzin
Mar 12 '13LAK 2 at PHX 5M. Boedker
Jan 26 '13LAK 4 at PHX 2J. Carter
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
K. Clifford4145+6500
J. Carter4202+1201
A. Kopitar3202+0000
J. Nolan4112+4500
J. Muzzin3112+4200
R. Scuderi4101-2000
C. Fraser4011+3200
D. Drewiske4011+2400
J. Williams4011+0400
A. Martinez4011-1200
D. Brown4011-4000
S. Gagne2011-2000
M. Greene1011-1400
J. Stoll4000-1000
T. Lewis4000-1600
D. King4000-1400
D. Doughty4000-1600
S. Voynov4000-1200
M. Richards4000-3900
D. Penner2000-2400
B. Richardson1000+0000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. Quick41-2-1121253.00.904
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
S. Sullivan5415-3420
R. Vrbata5235-1410
M. Boedker5145+3210
A. Vermette5224+0210
S. Doan5224-11300
O. Ekman-Larsson5224-1401
L. Korpikoski5213-2010
D. Moss5123-2000
D. Morris5033+0600
M. Hanzal3112-2000
K. Yandle5022+2800
B. Gordon5022-3200
M. Lombardi4022+0000
D. Schlemko4022-1200
Z. Michalek5000+1200
K. Chipchura5000+0500
A. Bolduc4000-1000
P. Bissonnette3000+0500
M. Stone3000-4200
R. Klesla2000-3000
N. Johnson1000+0000
D. Rundblad1000-2000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
J. LaBarbera31-2-09873.25.897
M. Smith30-2-010614.62.836
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