Game Day #77: Kings-Coyotes Preview
Los Angeles Kings v Phoenix Coyotes (Staples Center)
Time: 7:30 PM
TV: NBCSN, TSN2
Enemy reading: Five for Howling
Coyotes (projected) lineup:
Injured: David Schlemko, Mike Smith, David Moss; Scratched: Brandon Gormley, Paul Bissonnette, Connor Murphy
Kings (projected) lineup:
Injured: Dwight King; Scratched: Matt Greene
- The Coyotes had a 9-5-1 March as they've tried to claw their way into a playoff spot, but dropped a tough one in overtime to the Jets last night. They probably won't catch Minnesota at this point, who are four points ahead thanks in part to the Kings, but they have the same number of points (in one more game) than Dallas. Presumably they will play with ~desperation~ and ~grit~ tonight, on the second half of a back-to-back. Nobody turn their backs to Martin Hanzal, please.
- As you've heard one trillion times already today, any sort of win clinches third in the division for the Kings. It would take truly spectacular collapses from either the Ducks or the Sharks for the Kings to move up, but I think we've all dealt with that fact emotionally and moved on.
- For all his regular season line-juggling, Darryl Sutter has been a playoff man of routine. I think he's now settled into his preferred configuration heading into the post-season, and I'm pretty okay with it. The defence is pretty much optimal given the personnel, and the top six is no longer the dead weight it was to start the season. Hooray! Stop playing the Jaws theme. Stop it.
- Notable rage machine/public menace Mike Smith is still injured, so back-up Thomas Greiss gets the start at Staples tonight. This is how I think of Thomas Greiss 100 per cent of the time. He's already shut out the Kings once this season, and in his four starts since Smith's injury, he's put up a delightful .933 sv%.
- Our friends at Five for Howling inform us that Phoenix has been outscored 9-0 in third periods since their March 17th comeback win against the Kings. That seems non-ideal.
- The Coyotes website informs me that the team has nominated Jeff Halpern for the Masterton, presumably for overcoming in the face of adversity/overcoming adversity of the face. (What? He's a weird-looking dude and he's terrible at hockey.) (Look, I accept that that wasn't a very good joke, but I'm not apologising for it.)
- Did you hear that these two teams don't like each other?? Just thought you should know.
- ~Fun With Numbers~ from Extra Skater. Interestingly, the Coyotes managed to do fairly well in March even as their possession cratered.
- Prediction: Kings win 5000000-0 because fuck the Coyotes.