Coyotes take on familiar foe in Kings
The Los Angeles Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes know each other rather well after meeting in last season’s Western Conference finals.
The Pacific Division rivals about to become even more familiar with each other.
The Kings look to keep rolling by continuing their dominance of the Coyotes in the first of three meetings over the next week Tuesday night.
Los Angeles (14-8-2) ousted Phoenix in five games of the conference finals last spring, clinching the series with a 4-3 overtime win in the desert before going on to win its first Stanley Cup.
The Kings beat the Coyotes 4-2 on the road again Jan. 26, improving to 11-2-2 over the past 15 meetings – including the playoffs and a 6-0-2 record at Phoenix.
Now, they’ll have plenty of chances to keep that success going. After visiting Jobing.com Arena, Los Angeles will have a home-and-home set with San Jose before hosting the Coyotes next Monday and Tuesday.
“The schedule is hard, (so) you’ve got to find different ways to hang in there,” coach Darryl Sutter said. “The schedule does win and lose games for teams.”
So far, it’s working out pretty well for Los Angeles, which has won 11 of 14 games after winning 6-2 on Saturday and 3-1 two days later over Calgary.
“When you win the Cup, you have a confidence in your group, because you’ve been there,” said captain Dustin Brown, who had two goals Monday. “It’s just a matter of getting to work every day and doing things right, and we’ve been doing it lately.”
Brown has three goals and six assists in the past seven road meetings with the Coyotes, setting up one of Anze Kopitar’s two goals Jan. 26.
Kopitar, who leads Los Angeles with 22 points, has six goals and 13 assists in his last 13 overall visits to Phoenix.
Jonathan Quick may be back in net after stopping 40 of 43 shots to win both games against the Flames. He’s 10-2-2 with a 1.80 goals-against average and three shutouts in his past 14 games versus the Coyotes.
Phoenix, one point out of playoff position, is trying to cap a three-game homestand with back-to-back victories after beating Dallas 2-1 on Saturday.
“It’s been a while since we played a game like that,” said Mike Smith, who had 20 saves. “Any win is nice, but it was nice to do it the right way like we always talk about.”
It’s also nice for the Coyotes to have captain Shane Doan finding the net with regularity. The right wing has scored half of his team-leading eight goals in the past six games.
Doan scored in the latest meeting with the Kings, giving him three goals in the two most recent regular-season games – both at home.
He has six goals and four assists at home this season, tallying once in four of the past five games and each of the last three.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson has two assists in 16 career matchups with the Kings, but enters this one with nine in 10 games after assisting on Doan’s goal Saturday.