Game Day #69: Kings-Coyotes Preview

welcome back, I guess - Christian Petersen

Los Angeles Kings v Phoenix Coyotes (Staples Center)

Time: 7:30 PM

TV: NHL Network, Fox Sports West

Enemy reading: Five for Howling

Coyotes (projected) lineup:

Boedker-Vermette-Vrbata
McMillan-Ribeiro-Doan
Korpikoski-Halpern-Moss
Klinkhammer-Chipchura-Bissonnette

Ekman-Larsson-Michalek
Yandle-Morris
Summers-Stone

Smith

Injured: Martin Hanzal, Martin Erat; Scratched: Andy Miele, Brandon Gormley, David Schlemko

Kings (projected) lineup:

Gaborik-Kopitar-Williams
King-Richards-Carter
Pearson-Stoll-Toffoli
Clifford-Lewis-Nolan

Mitchell-Doughty
Regehr-Voynov
Martinez-Greene

Quick

Injured: Dustin Brown; Scratched: Jake Muzzin, Jake Muzzin's eyebrows

Game Notes:

  • This is going to be wicked short because I...forgot the Kings were playing tonight. MY BAD. Sorry.
  • So Darryl Sutter, in his infinite wisdom, has decided to bench Jake Muzzin and I am obviously handling it with my characteristic aplomb and dignity (aka I'm having a big baby fit over it). Sutter is far from the only coach who keeps his younger players on short leashes, or who has over-reacted to a single bad play with a benching, but it's frustrating as hell to watch when Muzzin's been playing so well. Disrupting the pairings for a relatively isolated incident of poor decision-making seems so counter-productive. Do you want that 500th win or not, Darryl?!
  • Dustin Brown is still sick, so Tanner Pearson gets to stay in the lineup for now, but he's been demoted to the third line, while Dwight King gets bumped back up into the top six. Fine. Whatever.
  • Although Martin Hanzal is apparently "available" for the Coyotes tonight, he'll likely remain out of the lineup with a lower body injury. Jake Muzzin better watch his back in the press box.
  • Just a little reminder that Shane Doan is garbage.
  • The Coyotes have been playing uncharacteristically up-tempo and defensively porous hockey lately. The return of Zbynek Michalek from injury has stabilised them somewhat recently (and reduced their extreme reliance on Keith Yandle - who is good, but not Drew Doughty game-carrying game in and game out good), but the Flames skated circles around them in their last game on Saturday. In the end, a lengthy parade of stupid Flames penalties was the only thing that handed the Coyotes the victory.
  • Statistically, the Coyotes have one of the League's best power plays, so the Kings should probably avoid one of their own characteristic length parade of stupid penalties if they want to help themselves out.
  • ~Fun with Numbers~ from Extra Skater. After a crater about a month ago, the Coyotes have returned to being a decent puck possession team. Both their depth guys and their rookies have been solid, and their reliably psychotic goaltender Mike Smith appears to be rounding into shape after a rough start to the season. Probably he's just well-rested from his lengthy schedule of doing absolutely nothing at all and yet still winning a gold medal (yes, I'm still bitter) in Sochi.
  • Prediction: Kings win 4-1, but everything is still terrible because Shane Doan.
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