After being routed in three consecutive games by the same opponent, the Phoenix Coyotes are probably happy to play a different team. They might not be thrilled it comes in Los Angeles.
Two Pacific Division rivals open their season series with the first of two meetings in five days when the Coyotes face the Kings at Staples Center on Saturday.
Phoenix (7-10-0) has won only two of its last 18 games at Los Angeles, going 2-10-2 with four ties - including 1-2-1 last season. However, the Coyotes are 12-2-1 in the last 15 meetings with the Kings (8-9-1) in Phoenix, where the teams will meet on Wednesday.
While Los Angeles splits those two matchups with a game at Dallas on Monday, the Coyotes will face a division rival in back-to-back games after playing another one in three straight.
The Coyotes lost all three of those games to San Jose, getting outscored 15-1 and being outshot in every game. They were shut out for the second straight game Thursday with a 6-0 home loss to the Sharks, prompting a five-minute players' only meeting.
"The last three games have been unacceptable," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "I just kind of discussed how we need 20 guys. We need every single guy. That's the way the team is built. If we don't have that, starting with myself, it's not going to work."
Doan, the team leader with 14 points, has been held to one point in four games after getting nine in the previous five contests. The right wing has only two points in his last seven games at Staples Center.
Phoenix's poor run comes after an impressive stretch during which it went 5-2-0, with two victories over reigning Stanley Cup champion Anaheim. The Coyotes showed some offensive punch during that span with 24 goals, but enter this contest having gone 171 consecutive minutes without scoring.
Their last goal was scored by Steve Reinprecht in the first period of a 4-1 loss at San Jose last Saturday, and their 41 total goals rank them toward the bottom of the NHL.
"We need our offensive guys to make plays and that's not happening right now and hasn't happened for more than 2 1/2 games," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. "To be successful you've got to be somewhat creative and we haven't done that whatsoever in two games."
Phoenix now hopes to avoid dropping four straight for the first time since March 27-April 3.
The Kings, meanwhile, are looking to rebound from a home-and-home sweep to the Ducks. They lost 6-3 at home on Thursday after a 4-3 shootout defeat two nights earlier.
"We have a good team here that competes against the top teams in the league," said Kings right wing Dustin Brown, who has four goals in the last five games. "It's just a matter of being consistent. Not only from game to game, but from the first minute to the last minute of the game."
Los Angeles has lost three of four at home, giving up 18 goals.
Michael Cammalleri, the Kings' leader with 12 goals, has not scored in the last six games at Los Angeles after opening the home schedule with seven goals in six contests.
Cammalleri has been key to Los Angeles' strong power-play unit, scoring seven of its 20 goals. The team has converted 22.0 percent of its advantages with the extra skater to rank among the best in the league.
|Mar 27 '08||PHX 0 at LAK 4||K. Dallman|
|Mar 20 '08||LAK 6 at PHX 5 - SO||P. O'Sullivan|
|Feb 18 '08||PHX 4 at LAK 0||E. Jovanovski|
|Feb 16 '08||LAK 3 at PHX 4||R. Vrbata|
|Dec 08 '07||PHX 4 at LAK 2||K. Ballard|
|Dec 05 '07||LAK 1 at PHX 4||R. Vrbata|
|Nov 21 '07||LAK 1 at PHX 4||M. York|
|Nov 17 '07||PHX 1 at LAK 0||S. Doan|