The Arizona Coyotes host the upwardly-mobile Los Angeles Kings beginning Thursday night at Gila River Arena.
The Arizona Coyotes begin their post-St. Louis Blues marathon by hosting the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday and Saturday nights. Familiar names on the Kings roster include points leader and Captain Anze Kopitar (4 goals and 14 assists), a great two-way player that’s won the Selke Trophy twice, forwards Dustin Brown (7 goals and 6 assists), and top-notch scoring defenseman Drew Doughty (4 goals and 8 assists). Doughty averages a whopping 26 plus minutes of ice time per game, which is no surprise based upon his goal-scoring capability and preference to get involved in the “O” zone. Other Kings standouts include Jeff Carter (8 points), Adrian Kempe (9 points), and Alex Iafallo (9 points).
Jonathan Quick (3 wins, 2 regulation losses, and 2 OT losses) is the goalkeeper most familiar to Coyotes fans, but the Yotes may very well see newcomer Calvin Petersen in net.
Following Tuesday night’s 4 to 0 shutout win at home against the Minnesota Wild, the Kings have 13 points with a record of 5 wins, 6 losses, and 3 overtime losses. They have won two games in a row as they head to Glendale, Arizona, and have a game in hand on the Coyotes. In their 14 games, the Kings have scored 44 goals and allowed 44 goals, while the Yotes have scored 40 and given up 42 in their 15 games. Thirteen of the Kings’ goals were scored in their past 3 games. The L.A. Kings currently have a road record of 2 wins and 4 losses, while the Coyotes have 4 wins, two regulation losses, and 2 OT losses at home.
The Kings roster includes impressive center Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who made his season debut on February 5 and scored his first NHL goal two nights later. His line, usually the Kings’ third or fourth, includes wingers Trevor Moore and Carl Grundstrom. Kings Coach Todd McLellan said that they have earned increased playing time due to their hard work and conscientious defensive play. Those young guns could be a group to watch against the Coyotes’ third or fourth lines.
The Kings and Coyotes have historically been bitter rivals in the Pacific Division, and games tended to become physical affairs. Nothing wrong with that! Current Kings forward Dustin Brown and “Captain Coyote” Shane Doan had plenty of noteworthy and entertaining scraps of their own. I expect that things will become a bit heated as the two teams go head-to-head 8 times during the remainder of this truncated season. What makes it really fun is the number of L.A. fans that make the trip to see their beloved Kings at Gila River Arena.
We’ll soon see how these long time rivals match up and battle it out. It will certainly be entertaining. Let’s go Coyotes!