Coyotes – Kings Preview
The Los Angeles Kings will visit Jobing.com Arena on Tuesday. The Phoenix Coyotes are hungry for revenge after the last meeting ended 7-4 in favor of the Kings in Los Angeles on Oct. 24 with Dwight King scoring his first NHL hat trick.
Both teams have 16 points after 12 games, which is good for 4th and 5th place in the Pacific Divison (PHX 4th LA 5th). Coyotes are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games and the Kings are 7-3-0. Coyotes are coming off a 5-4 victory against Edmonton Saturday and the Kings have a two-game winning streak with victories over Phoenix (7-4) and Edmonton (2-1 SO).
Martin Hanzal will miss the game due to suspension. The Czech center was handed a two-game suspension today by the NHL for the hit he put on Edmonton’s Jeff Petry on Saturday. Rostislav Klesla and Lauri Korpikoski are on the Injury Reserve list and will also miss the game. The Coyotes have called up Andy Miele and Jordan Szwarz from Portland Pirates (AHL). Radim Vrbata leads the Coyotes with 12 points in 12 games (5 goals 7 assists).
The Los Angeles Kings have a clean bill of health, and with Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and Matt Frattin getting on the score sheet in the past week, the team is looking to start climbing the Pacific Division. Kopitar leads the Kings with 11 points (1 goal 10 assists) and last year’s goal king Jeff Carter has 5 goals. Keep an extra eye on Jordan Nolan as the Coyotes will be hitting him hard after injuring Klesla during the pre-season. If Paul Bissonnette is on the ice it wouldn’t surprise me if BizNasty challenges Nolan to a fight.
Keys to the game for the Coyotes:
1. Get back to playing solid defensively. The Coyotes have scored a lot of goals (40) but also let in way too many pucks (39) and coach Dave Tippett said on Saturday after the Oilers game that it might be fun to watch but it’s a recipe for disaster to let in that many goals. The defense has chipped in with a lot of goals, but also made some really bad mistakes in the defensive zone.
2. Shut down Carter & Richards. With Hanzal out for the Coyotes, someone will have to step up and make sure to take care of Carter and Richards, because those two guys are lethal when given space and time. Look for Antoine Vermette to have a big role in the game.
3. Get the first goal. The Coyotes are 4-0-1 in their last five home games and they need that first goal because you don’t want to be chasing such a skilled team as the Kings. Combine that with stronger play in the defensive zone and the Coyotes have a good chance of beating LA.