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Preview: Coyotes at Kings

Adrian Kempe to make NHL debut for Los Angeles; Arizona seeking 1,200th win in franchise history

by Forrest Lee / NHL.com Correspondent

COYOTES (19-29-7) at KINGS (28-23-4)

10:30 p.m. ET; FS-W, FS-A, NHL.TV

 
Coyotes team scope

Mike Smith is expected to start in goal for the Arizona Coyotes, who conclude a three-game road trip against the Los Angeles Kings. Smith did not play in a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. A win would give the Coyotes their 1,200th victory in franchise history. Arizona is 6-3-1 since Jan. 21, with Smith getting all six wins. The Coyotes have scored 34 goals during that stretch. They also have scored a goal in the second period in 11 consecutive games. Forward Martin Hanzal has 310 points and is one behind defenseman Keith Yandle for fifth place on the Coyotes' all-time list, 14th on the franchise list. Forward Jamie McGinn is a healthy scratch and will be replaced in the lineup by forward Peter Holland. Coach Dave Tippett would like to see McGinn become more aggressive. "[He] can play a lot better," Tippett told the Coyotes website. "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."

 
Kings team scope

Forward Adrian Kempe, 20, will make his NHL debut. Kempe, who was selected with the No. 29 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, is expected to start on the top line with center Anze Kopitar and forward Tyler Toffoli. "Of course I'm nervous," Kempe said, according to LAKingsInsider.com. "First game, so obviously I'm going to be a little bit nervous, but I think that's good. If you're nervous then you're going to be pumped for the game and I think you're going to be good. I'm just going to go out there and play my game and skate a lot and play hard." The Kings return from their six-day break. Los Angeles hasn't played since Feb. 9 when it ended a four-game road trip with a 6-3 win against the Florida Panthers. The Kings trail the Calgary Flames by a point for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Right wing Dustin Brown believes the Kings can keep pace by avoiding mistakes against the Coyotes. "You've been off for five days, so if you're trying to fancy pass it through a guy's stick, sometimes in a game like this you've just got to simplify," Brown said. "We say that a lot as players, I know, like, 'simplify our game.' In a game like [Thursday], it's really important that we don't have turnovers."

 
Coyotes projected lineup

Max Domi -- Martin Hanzal -- Radim Vrbata

Brendan Perlini -- Christian Dvorak -- Shane Doan

Tobias Rieder -- Alexander Burmistrov -- Josh Jooris

Jordan Martinook -- Peter Holland -- Ryan White

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Luke Schenn

Alex Goligoski -- Michael Stone

Kevin Connauton -- Connor Murphy

Mike Smith

Louis Domingue

Scratched: Jamie McGinn, Jakob Chychrun

Injured: Lawson Crouse (lower body)

 
Kings projected lineup

Adrian Kempe -- Anze Kopitar -- Tyler Toffoli

Tanner Pearson -- Jeff Carter -- Dustin Brown

Kyle Clifford -- Nic Dowd -- Marian Gaborik

Dwight King -- Nick Shore -- Trevor Lewis

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Jake Muzzin -- Alec Martinez

Brayden McNabb -- Paul LaDue

Peter Budaj

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Andy Andreoff, Kevin Gravel

Injured: Jordan Nolan (lower body), Matt Greene (undisclosed), Jonathan Quick (lower body)

 
Status report

Crouse, who has missed the past two games because of a lower-body injury, will not play. Crouse could return Saturday against the San Jose Sharks. "He's skating [in Arizona]," Tippett said. "We'll see where he gets by the weekend, but he's moving in the right direction."... Kings defenseman Paul LaDue also was recalled with Kempe from Ontario of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.

 
Who's Hot

Hanzal has scored four goals in the past three games. Domi and Ekman-Larsson each are on a four-game point streak. … Carter has six goals and six assists in his past eight games.

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