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Jones set to start as Kings look to kick Arizona struggles

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

KINGS (13-7-5) at COYOTES (10-13-3)


AZ FINALE: This is the second of four meetings with Arizona this season, and the final one at Gila River Arena. The Coyotes will visit STAPLES Center on December 20 and March 16. Arizona is kicking off a five-game home stand tonight, they’re 4-5-2 on home ice this season. The Coyotes are 1-3-1 in their previous five, their only win coming against the Edmonton Oilers.

CALLING ON JONES: Martin Jones was the first goaltender off the ice at today’s morning skate, which hints that he will make his fifth start of the season tonight. This will mark Jones’ first time facing the Coyotes in his NHL career. Jones is 2-2-1 in five starts this season, he carries a .938 SV% and a 1.68 GAA into tonight’s contest. Tonight will be the third consecutive road game that Jones has started for the Kings; three of his five starts this season have come away from STAPLES Center.

LINEUP NOTES: Marian Gaborik, who has missed the last two games due to an undisclosed upper-body injury, did not travel with the team to Arizona, and will be out of the lineup tonight. According to Jon Rosen, Jamie McBain and Andy Andreoff stayed on the ice for extra work following today’s morning skate, so expect those two to be healthy scratches. Alec Martinez will play in his second game tonight after missing seven games due to a finger injury.

STRUGGLES IN THE DESERT: The Kings haven’t fared too well in regular season contests in Arizona the past few seasons. They’ve dropped five straight at Gila River Arena, their last win coming on January 26, 2013. The Kings are 1-4-3 when playing the Coyotes in Arizona, dating back to October 29, 2011. Arizona is 4-5-2 on home ice this season; they’re kicking off a five-game home stand tonight.

AWAY FROM LA: Beginning tonight, the Kings will play six of their next seven games away from STAPLES Center. This stretch will be a test for the Kings, who have picked up just two wins on the road this season; they have an overall mark of 2-4-4 away from Los Angeles this season. The Kings have earned 31 of their 39 points in the standings on home ice, can they earn a pair on the road tonight in Arizona?

THE LAST TIME AROUND: In the Kings’ previous visit to Arizona’s Gila River Arena this season, the Kings fell to the Coyotes 3-2 in overtime. Goals from Jeff Carter and Tanner Pearson gave the Kings a 2-0 first period lead, but Arizona clawed back. Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the game-winning goal with 14 seconds left to play in OT. Jonathan Quick made 37 saves in the loss.


WE’RE DOING IT LIVE: Catch KINGS LIVE at 5:30PM PT on FOX SPORTS WEST, followed with Bob and Jim on the live play-by-play call from Gila River Arena for puck drop at 6:00PM PT.

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