LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 17: (R) Dwight King #74 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates after scoring a third period goal against goaltender Mike Smith #41 of the Phoenix Coyotes in Game Three of the Western Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on May 17, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Game 4 will likely see an influx of new blood for the Coyotes. Adrian Aucoin practiced with the team in recent days and appears ready to go. Martin Hanzal is returning from suspension. Will this be enough for the Coyotes to finally take their first game in the series?
If not, and the Kings get on top early, will the Coyotes frustrations boil over? Hopefully not for the Kings sake. They need everyone healthy if they're going onto the final.
If the Coyotes do get a jump early (as they did in Game 1) it'll be an interesting reality check. The Coyotes have been nearly unbeatable under Dave Tippett when they get an early lead (they've won 79% of games when scoring first over 4 years). In order to avoid this Sutter is trying to keep his team focused. They again stayed at a hotel near Staples. Also via LAKI he had this message to his team:
"I think just trying to continue to harp detail on them. Hopefully they have the preparation skills to do that. … You’re going to get the same thing we got in the first period of last game, for sure. That’s logical, right? If I was those guys, I’d be doing the same thing. So, expect that. … I think they were really good in the neutral zone, and we weren’t as good."
We'll see what happens in few hours. I have a feeling there's a stronger likelihood than usual that first goal wins.