Coyotes-Kings Preview

Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was not pleased with how his

team finished its homestand. A game in Los Angeles could help

Tippett feel much better about his club.

The Coyotes try to avoid their first three-game losing streak

since early November on Thursday night at Staples Center, where the

Kings will look to get their offense in gear for this home-and-home

set.

After going 6-0-2 to open January, Phoenix (23-15-9) dropped two

straight to end a 2-2-0 homestand. A 5-2 loss to Nashville on

Tuesday sent the Coyotes from fourth to sixth in the Western

Conference.

“We’re making far too many errors and our whole game is out of

sync here the last two,” said Tippett, whose team is 3 for 39 on

the power play over the last 11 games.

Before trying to avoid a season high-tying third straight home

loss Saturday night versus the Kings (24-21-1), Phoenix will look

to match a season best with its fourth consecutive road win.

The host in both matchups this season, the Coyotes won 4-2 on

Oct. 21 behind Lee Stempniak’s first career hat trick and scored

four first-period goals to snap Los Angeles’ four-game winning

streak with a 6-3 victory Dec. 29.

That loss began the Kings’ current 2-9-0 skid. Before heading to

Glendale, where it has dropped 20 of 27, Los Angeles will try to

get back on track following consecutive 2-1 road losses to Dallas

and St. Louis.

Tuesday’s defeat against the Blues dropped the slumping Kings

into 12th place in the West.

“We’ve got to start getting results here, regardless of how good

we play,” captain Dustin Brown told the Kings’ official

website.

Los Angeles could use better production from Brown, Ryan Smyth

and Justin Williams, who each have a team-high 17 goals but just

one between them in the last five contests.

The Kings are 0 for 13 on the power play during that

stretch.

With Los Angeles scoring once for the third time in four games

Tuesday, Jonathan Quick delivered one of his better performances in

more than two weeks, stopping 24 of 26 shots. Quick, though, let a

soft shot by Erik Johnson slip through his pads with 6:47 left.

“A bad goal at the end of the game cost us,” said Quick, 1-6-0

with a 3.59 goals-against average in his last seven starts.

Coach Terry Murray, though, was pleased with Quick’s effort, and

he will likely be in net Thursday. In the Dec. 29 matchup, Quick

yielded a career high-tying six goals on 18 shots to fall to 0-3-1

with a 3.95 GAA in his last four starts against Phoenix.

Ilya Bryzgalov is 11-2-1 with a 2.21 GAA in his last 14 starts

versus Los Angeles, but he could be benched in favor of former King

Jason LaBarbera after allowing eight goals in the last two

games.

LaBarbera, making his first start in Los Angeles as a visiting

player, turned away 22 shots and the Coyotes erased a two-goal

third-period deficit to win 3-2 in a shootout in their last game at

Staples Center on April 8.

The Kings, who have dropped six of eight at home, are trying to

win two in a row in Los Angeles for the first time since Dec.

23-26.

Phoenix last dropped three straight during an 0-1-2 skid Nov.

5-8.

The Kings placed left wing Marco Sturm on injured reserve

Thursday due to tendinitis in his left knee. The veteran scored in

the Dec. 29 meeting.