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Coyotes at Kings Preview

Arizona is starting a two-game trip in Los Angeles on Sunday

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

The Coyotes will play their penultimate road game of the season on Sunday when they skate against the Los Angeles Kings. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. Arizona time at the Staples Center.

Arizona (28-41-9) already has beaten the Kings twice in LA this season.

Goalie Mike Smith, who missed Friday's game vs. Washington because of illness, will start. Smith has posted a 14-8-1 record in 24 games vs. Los Angeles and a .929 save percentage.

"Mike wants to play," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "He's had a couple down days, but he wants to get back in and get playing."

The Coyotes are looking to carry confidence and momentum gained by beating Washington, 6-3, on Friday into the final week of the season.

"Guys are playing with a lot of pride and a lot of guys are trying to get noticed for next year," Tippett said. "Young players keep pushing, veteran players want to finish out strong. We hope to continue to play well."

Rookie Lawson Crouse liked the way the team played vs. Washington, especially in the first period when it took a 3-0 lead.

"We scored a lot of goals the last game and it was a lot of fun and very enjoyable, but at the same time we worked for our goals," Crouse said. "We still have to compete and battle because we're playing against some pretty good teams in the final stretch here."

Video: Lawson Crouse previews Sunday's game at LA

Captain Shane Doan notched an assist in his return to the lineup on Friday and will enter the game with a three-game point streak. Sunday's game will be Doan's 111th vs. Los Angeles. He has produced 37 goals and 81 points in those games vs. LA, his highest totals vs. any team. 

Defenseman Kevin Connauton is expected to play after missing the past 15 games because of an upper-body injury.

Tippett sat first-round draft pick Clayton Keller on Friday because he felt the 18-year-old forward needed a rest after a hectic first week in the NHL. Keller looked refreshed at Saturday's practice but he won't paly on Sunday.

"We'll just kind of monitor him day by day," Tippett said. "He's a good, young player and it's great for him just to be around the atmosphere here a little bit. He'll get some more games." 

Video: Dave Tippett previews Sunday's game at Kings

Los Angeles (37-33-7) has won two games in a row, but is teetering on elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

The Kings have struggled to score goals this season; they've netted just 185 in 77 games. That ranks 26th in the NHL.

"They play big, strong, fast up and down the walls," Crouse said. "We've got to have the same start as we did (Friday) and go from there."

Forward Jeff Carter leads the team in goals (32) and points (62), but he has notched just two points (one goal, one assist) in the past eight games.

Anze Kopitar has had a disappointing season in his first year as team captain with just 48 points. 

Veteran Jarome Iginla has produced since being acquired via trade on March 1. Iginla, 39, has notched six goals and two assists in 14 games with the Kings, and will enter the game with a three-game goal-scoring streak. 

Goalie Jonathan Quick stopped all 35 shots he faced in a 2-0 shutout of Vancouver on Friday and likely will start vs. the Coyotes.

Video: Max Domi previews Sunday's game at LA



TV: FOX Sports Arizona Plus

Radio: ESPN Phoenix 620 AM



Perlini - Dvorak - Vrbata

Domi - Burmistrov - Duclair

Martinook - Jooris - Rieder

Crouse - Holland - Doan


Ekman-Larsson - Schenn

Goligoski - Murphy

Connauton - DeAngelo  




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