Game Day Preview #24, Los Angeles Kings @ Arizona Coyotes

Please win. Please?

Preview: Los Angeles Kings (12-10-1) @ Arizona Coyotes (8-10-3)

How to Watch and What to Watch For

For the Coyotes, top defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson returns after leaving Tuesday’s game against the Sharks early with an upper body injury.  Rookie defender Jakob Chychrun also draws back in on the third pairing (with former King Luke Schenn), after sitting out the past four games as a healthy scratch. The Coyotes are full of intriguing rookies or second-year pros, including Christian Dvorak (holding down the second line center role that many thought was Dylan Strome’s to lose), power forward Lawson Crouse (he’s very large and he ate a worm on camera, which are both important facts for you to know), and Max Domi (he’s small, he’s fast, he might punch you). The Coyotes’ youth movement gives you a good look at what this team could be in the future, if it could only find consistent goaltending.

Without a full morning skate, there’s no real telling what the Kings’ lines will look like, so take the below with a grain of salt. The loss against the Sharks looks worse on paper than it really was -- a few moments of sloppiness in the first and a dialed-in Martin Jones masked the fact that by most metrics, the Kings came out on top. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some reactionary changes anyway. There was some real line blending going on last night as Darryl Sutter tried to find a line combination that could break past Martin Jones. Marian Gaborik got some looks alongside Dustin Brown and Nic Dowd, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him move up in the lineup, especially after a strong showing against the Sharks. (Gaborik put four shots on goal, tied for a team high with Tyler Toffoli and Dwight King.)

The Kings have been abysmal on the road this year (3-7-1), which makes this game have a higher than usual probability of pain. After a loss to a divisional rival last night, they’re going to need to right the ship, and Arizona could be the right team to find a win against.

Projected Line Combinations

Los Angeles Kings

King - Kopitar - Lewis
Pearson - Carter - Toffoli
Brown - Dowd - Setoguchi
Gaborik - Shore - Nolan

Forbort - Doughty
Muzzin - Martinez
Gravel - Greene


Arizona Coyotes

Domi - Hanzal - Vrbata
McGinn - Dvorak - Duclair
Rieder - Martinook - Doan
Crouse - Dauphin - White

Ekman-Larsson - Murphy
Goligoski - Stone
Chychrun - Schenn


Opposing Preview: Five for Howling