Kings/Coyotes: Desert dogfight [Game #36 Preview]
Didn't we just do this? Phoenix beat the Kings at home, 4-2, on Oct. 21st.
So, what have you been up to? Since then, the Coyotes (16-12-7) have fallen to last place in the Pacific, going 5-5-2 in December.
Well, you're looking good! [Really?] They are only 6 points behind the Kings, and I would never underestimate a team coached by Dave Tippett (miss you, man!). However, production has been a problem for their top forwards so far. Martin Hanzal leads the team in goals with 9. Shane "Godzilla roar" Doan finally seems to be turning it around (10 pts in his last 10 games, 18 total on the year). Ray Whitney and defenseman Keith Yandle are tied for the team scoring lead with 23 pts.
In goal, noted comedic genius/Tolstoy devotee Ilya Bryzgalov (.920 SV%, 2.57 GAA) finally returned last night after missing 5 games from injury. He should also get the start tonight.
Hey, whatever happened to… RW Brett MacLean was just recalled from the AHL. Rookie defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was recalled at the beginning of the month.
How's that workin' for ya? Phoenix's PP is 17th in the league (16.8%); their PK is 24th (79.7%). Meanwhile, the Kings have almost cracked the top ten in scoring (2.91 G/G).
OMG, did you hear about...Injured Kings: Scott Parse, Willie Mitchell, Alexei Ponikarovsky (lower body, possibly ankle). Injured Coyotes: Radim Vrbata (lower body), Taylor Pyatt (upper body injury/clocked by Engelland).
Okay, well, nice to see you as always... Season series: Phoenix up, 1-0. With their win over the Sharks, the Kings improved to 4-3-0 against their Pacific rivals. This is arguably the toughest division in the league. It’s vital to keep that trend going, especially against a team looking desperate to rebound tonight.