Last Thursday’s game at the Staples Center featured four fights and a total of 62 penalty minutes. It also included an altercation between Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith
and Kings forward Anze Kopitar.
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The Coyotes will enter the game in seventh place in the Western Conference standings with 67 points, while LA is on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, sitting in ninth place with 65 points.
With points so crucial at this point in the season, Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett says he thinks Round Two will be more about getting a victory than looking for any retribution after last week’s game.
“I don’t expect repercussions from the other game,” Tippett said after Monday’s practice
. “The only repercussions I see is that we were fortunate to get a win, so they’ll be coming in trying to avenge that loss. We have to be ready for them.”
Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette
, who fought Kings enforcer Kevin Westgarth early in the third period last Thursday, thinks the combination of lingering feelings after what happened last week and LA’s frustrations from not scoring a goal since Feb. 12 could lead to another physical game.
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“When you mix in basically a division rival with what happened last game, yeah, it will be interesting,” Bissonnette said. “They haven’t scored a goal in two games so I’m sure they’re going to stress getting to the net and creating scoring chances. So, we should be ready for another playoff-type atmosphere.”
Forward Raffi Torres
, who took part in one of the three first-period fights last week, said he the Coyotes need to stick to the game plan that has propelled them to a 6-0-1 record in the month of February and not think about what happened last week too much.
“For us, we just have to have the mentality of we’ve lost five games in a row, go out there and get stuff done and play by the rules,” Torres said. “The main thing is we just have to keep getting pucks deep and make them work.”
While Torres and his teammates are preparing to play the disciplined, hard-working style of hockey that has served them well of late, he says they’ll also be ready to play the more physical style that was on display last week in LA.
“We’ve just got to be ready to go,” Torres said. “It could go either way. Usually these games don’t really end up being like how they were, but we’ve got to be ready for whatever happens.”'YOTES NOTES
• Defenseman Derek Morris
has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the team because of an illness in his family.
• Forward Taylor Pyatt
skated with teammates at Monday’s optional practice and may be back in the lineup as soon as Tuesday vs. LA. Pyatt hasn’t played since Feb. 13 when he suffered an upper-body injury in the game played at Vancouver.
Meanwhile, centers Martin Hanzal
(lower-body injury) and Kyle Chipchura
(upper-body injury) and defenseman Rostislav Klesla
(upper-body injury) did not skate at Monday's optional practice.
• Defenseman David Schlemko
skated on his own before Monday’s practice. Schlemko, who suffered what was thought to be a season-ending lower-body injury on Jan. 7, may be back in the lineup before the eason ends after all.