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Preview: Coyotes at Kings

Arizona is ending a three-game road trip at LA on Thursday

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

The Coyotes will conclude a three-game road trip on Thursday when they battle the Los Angeles Kings. The puck drops at 8:30 p.m. Arizona time at the Staples Center.

Arizona (19-29-7) has earned 13 of a possible 20 points over the past 10 games and needs one victory to reach 1,200 as a franchise.

The Coyotes rank third in the NHL with 1,512 hits. Los Angeles ranks first with 1,633.

"Discipline is going to be a big factor and we'd better be ready to compete in front of both nets," Head Coach Dave Tippett said.

Mike Smith is expected to start in goal after sitting out Tuesday's 5-2 loss at Edmonton. Smith has earned six of his 14 wins this season since Jan. 21.

Video: Mike Smith previews Thursday's game at LA

Center Martin Hanzal has scored four goals in the past three games, and with 310 points is just one point behind Keith Yandle for fifth place on the Coyotes' all-time points list and 14th on the franchise list.

Forward Max Domi and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson both will enter the game with four-game point streaks.

Forward Peter Holland will replace Jamie McGinn in the lineup. McGinn is healthy.

"(He) can play a lot better," Tippett said. "He's got to be a heavy, competitive guy. He'd like to chip in more points than he is, but he's got to be really engaged in the game, physically engaged. We haven't seen that enough lately, so we'll try Holland in there today and see where it goes."

Meanwhile, rookie Lawson Crouse, who has missed the past two games because of a lower-body injury, will not play. 

"He's skating (in Arizona)," Tippett said. "... We'll see where he gets by the weekend, but he's moving in the right direction."

Video: Dave Tippett previews Thursday's game at LA

Los Angeles (28-23-4) is returning to action after taking its NHL-mandated "bye week" one point behind Calgary, the Western Conference's second wild-card team. 

 The Kings last played on Feb. 9 and beat Florida 6-3. NHL teams are a collective 3-8-1 in their first games back after the bye week.

Goalie Peter Budaj is having his best NHL season in a decade in place of injured Jonathan Quick. Budaj has earned 26 wins, including seven shutouts, and has notched a 2.11 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.

Forward Jeff Carter leads the Kings and ranks second in the NHL with 29 goals, including a League-high nine game-winning goals.

Los Angeles recalled forward Adrian Kempe on Tuesday and he's expected to make his NHL debut against the Coyotes. The Kings drafted Kempe 29th overall in 2014. 

Video: Luke Schenn previews Thursday's game at LA



TV: FOX Sports Arizona

Radio: ESPN Phoenix 620 AM



Domi - Hanzal - Vrbata

Perlini - Dvorak - Doan

Rieder - Burmistrov - Jooris

Martinook - Holland - White


Ekman-Larsson - Schenn

Goligoski - Stone

Connauton - Murphy







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