Preview: Coyotes at Kings, 7 p.m., FOX Sports Arizona
LOS ANGELES — The Arizona Coyotes and the Los Angeles Kings meet Tuesday night at Staples Center in a battle of teams playing in the second game of back-to-backs.
The Kings, who lost 3-1 on Monday night to St. Louis, at least have the advantage of not traveling. The Coyotes are coming off a 1-0 home-ice victory over Colorado.
No home team has posted a win in the first three games of the teams’ five-game series. Los Angeles (33-29-6) triumphed 4-3 on Dec. 21 and 3-2 on Jan. 31 at Gila River Arena, while Arizona (25-35-8) captured the most recent game, 5-3 on Feb. 16 at Staples Center.
Though residing in the Pacific basement, the Coyotes usually play a competitive game against their division rivals. Although Arizona has not played a game of consequence for months, Coyotes coach Dave Tippett stresses that the final games are still significant.
“There is lots to play for,” Tippett said. “The last couple games I feel like we’ve played well. We have to continue to do that. Our young players are contributing, which is a big factor for us right now. We need everybody, and need our veterans to play well. We’re in a situation we have go out and play to win every night. That’s what we expect our players to do.”
Rookie Brendan Perlini scored the Coyotes’ lone goal in Monday’s win, extending his goal streak to three games and giving him 13 on the season in just 43 games.
“He keeps coming. He shoots the puck a ton,” Tippett said.
“That’s a hard, hard wrist shot. He’s a goal scorer and that’s what he does. It’s good to see him get rewarded.”
The Kings are wrapping up a seven-game homestand that has done little to aid their fading playoff hopes. They are five points behind St. Louis for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, and nine of their final 14 games are against current playoff qualifiers.
With few breathers on the schedule, the Kings know their margin of error becomes narrower with any defeat, either in regulation, overtime or a shootout.
“The best part about this game we play again tomorrow,” Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said after the Monday defeat. “If we win tomorrow night, it looks good again in the standings.”
Capitan Anze Kopitar agreed with his coach but stressed that the Kings’ sense of urgency must be dialed up the rest of the season.
“It definitely stinks, but at the same time, we have another one tomorrow, which is obviously a big game,” Kopitar said. “We have got to get the two points tomorrow.”