COYOTES (32-25-11) at KINGS (38-24-6)
7:30PM PT, TV: FOX SPORTS WEST; RADIO: AM 1150
DOGGIN’ IT: This is the fourth of five meetings with the Phoenix Coyotes this season. The Kings are 1-2-0 in their first three games against the Coyotes so far, winning the sole contest played at STAPLES Center, and dropping both visits at Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena earlier in the season. The Kings are 7-1-0 in their last eight regular season matchups against Phoenix at STAPLES Center, dating back to March 3, 2011.
DESERT DWELLERS: The Coyotes are managing to hang around in the Western Conference playoff picture, keeping pace with the Dallas Stars (75 PTS) for the second and final wild-card spot. Phoenix has a shot at more than just a wild-card berth, though. They trail the Kings by just seven points for the Pacific Divison’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot.
WORKING FROM HOME: After pulling off an eight-game win streak, the longest of the season for the Kings, they’ve gone 0-2-0 to begin their current five-game home stand. Including tonight, the Kings have seven home games left on the regular season’s slate. The Kings have been just as good at home as they’ve been on the road this season with a 19-12-3 record at STAPLES Center, and a 19-12-3 record in opposing buildings.
Can the Kings right the ship on the corner of Figueroa St. and Chick Hearn Blvd. tonight?
TALKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS?: Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider caught up with Darryl Sutter Sunday at Toyota Sports Center after the Kings’ Sunday skate:
“It’s not really that hard to figure out. If you want to be a playoff team, you have to play playoff hockey. Done that since break, and last night (Saturday) was sort of a microcosm of it because we made two really soft plays in our zone that cost us two goals against. If you want to be a playoff team, win in the playoffs, you don’t do that. Very simple. We had lots of opportunities and just quite didn’t get it done, so that’s the way it works.”
TYLER THE CREATOR: Tyler Toffoli, who netted the Kings’ lone goal in their 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Saturday evening, will see the team he scored his first career NHL goal against tonight at STAPLES Center.
In fact, we’re one day shy of the first anniversary of Toffoli’s groundbreaking goal against the Phoenix Coyotes, which came on March 18, 2013, in his second career NHL game.
RECORD PLAYERS: Jonathan Quick, who sat out Saturday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks with an undisclosed illness, is expected to return to the Kings’ crease tonight. If Quick can post a win against the Coyotes, he will tie Rogie Vachon for the Kings’ franchise record in career goaltender wins with 171. If Quick reaches this milestone tonight against Phoenix, head coach Darryl Sutter will be in line for his 500th NHL win.
SUN DOGS AT STAPLES: The Kings’ home confines haven’t been too kind to the Phoenix Coyotes in recent seasons. Phoenix is 1-5-2 in their past seven regular season visits dating back to March 3, 2011, 2-6-2 if you include their two postseason visits to STAPLES Center during the 2012 Western Conference Finals.
In the Coyotes’ last visit to STAPLES Center on October 24, the Kings built a 4-0 first period lead, one Phoenix would rebound from, tying the game 4-4 early in the third period.
The Kings would answer back, putting three more goals on the board, topped off with Dwight King’s empty-net tally, giving him his first and only hat trick of his NHL career.
DWIGHT’S GOT IT RIGHT
WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE on FOX SPORTS WEST at 7:00, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call on scene at STAPLES Center for puck drop at 7:30PM PT.