The Los Angeles Kings’ losing streak may be over, but their scoring woes remain.
The Kings also haven’t lit up the scoreboard during their three-game road skid against the Phoenix Coyotes, who are looking to get through some struggles of their own heading into Tuesday night’s matchup.
Los Angeles (30-18-6) has scored fewer than three goals in 13 of its last 17 contests, going 5-10-2 in that stretch. It has scored only twice in its last three games, a stretch that includes a 3-0 shutout against Anaheim on Saturday at Dodger Stadium.
The Kings’ scoreless stretch reached 154:43 before Anze Kopitar’s second-period goal against San Jose on Monday, and Jonathan Quick made it stand up with 23 saves for a 1-0 victory that ended their five-game losing streak.
"We needed a win like this to break out of the slump," Kopitar said. "Quickie was obviously solid back there and gave us a chance to win. I guess one was enough."
Kopitar’s goal was Los Angeles’ first since he scored in a 2-1 loss to the Ducks on Thursday. The last goal by someone other than Kopitar came when Robyn Regehr scored with 3:10 remaining in the third period of a loss to Columbus last Tuesday.
"We don’t score many goals, so … you’ve got to bear down on opportunities at the end of the night," coach Darryl Sutter said. "You can say you worked hard and get nothing."
Los Angeles has totaled four goals during its road losing streak against Phoenix, which got 41 saves from Mike Smith in a 3-1 victory in the most recent meeting Oct. 29.
Smith wasn’t as sharp Saturday as the Coyotes (24-18-10) fell 5-4 in overtime to Vancouver for their third defeat in four games. They dropped to 4-8-1 in 2014 despite rallying from a pair of two-goal deficits to tie it.
"We’re going to have to be better than we are right now," coach Dave Tippett said. "We play stretches well but make critical errors at the wrong time and those have to be cleaned up if we are going to be a playoff team."
Antoine Vermette recorded his second hat trick of the season after being the beneficiary of a couple of fortunate bounces. His six goals over his last six games are one more than the Kings have totaled over their last four.
"You talk about bounces and usually you get good chances and the puck doesn’t go in for you," Vermette said. "I guess it was one of those nights to find a way."
Tippett has been impressed with the recent play of Vermette, who had only one assist over his previous 11 contests prior to his hot stretch. His 37 points are a team high.
"The last four or five games he’s been really strong," Tippett said. "He’s a guy that touches a lot of parts of the game."
Smith is 1-2-1 with a 3.76 goals-against average over his last four contests, and he could be in net again for this one looking to bust out of his funk. In the first meeting with Los Angeles, he allowed four goals on 15 shots before being pulled at the end of the first period of a 7-4 defeat Oct. 24.
The Kings are likely to counter with rookie Martin Jones in the second game of a back-to-back. Jones has lost four straight starts while posting a 3.46 GAA after tying the NHL record by winning eight straight starts to begin his career.