GLENDALE Ariz. -- For a number of reasons, Martin Hanzal's two-game suspension could not have come at a worse time for the Phoenix Coyotes as they host the Los Angeles Kings at Jobing.com Arena on Tuesday.
Hanzal, a repeat offender under the NHL's disciplinary system, will miss the game against the Kings and Thursday against the Nashville Predators after charging Edmonton Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry in a 5-4 comeback victory on Saturday.
The Coyotes are banged up and Hanzal is one of four regulars who will miss the game. Forwards Lauri Korpikoski and Jeff Halpern are injured, as well as defenseman Rostislav Klesla. The two-game break might actually be beneficial to Hanzal, who has been banged up for more than a week himself, but the Coyotes will certainly miss him.
Hanzal is off to the best offensive start of his career with five goals and 11 points, one shy of team leader and linemate Radim Vrbata, in the first 12 games. He has been especially active around the net, good in the faceoff circle (52 percent) and an effective penalty killer, a big reason why the Coyotes are off to a 7-3-2 start despite allowing 39 goals in their first 12 games.
Two of Hanzal's goals came last Thursday in Los Angeles, when the Coyotes rallied from a 4-0 second-period deficit to tie the game before falling 7-4 to the Kings. And Hanzal's absence means he won't be on the ice to battle longtime foe Anze Kopitar, forcing the Coyotes to chance their normal defensive strategy against the Kings.
"He's our lead horse out there and he really plays in all situations," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "He plays a big, hard game. This year, he's gone to the net and screened in front of the net as well as I've ever seen him do. He's had a great start to the year."
Two call-ups from the Portland Pirates will fill out the Coyotes' forward lines. Former Hobey Baker Award winner Andy Miele, scoreless in eight previous games with Phoenix, will center the third line while 22-year-old Jordan Szwarz will make his NHL debut on the fourth line.
Backup goalie Ben Scrivens is expected to get his second start of the year in place of Jonathan Quick for the Kings. Otherwise, Los Angeles will play with the same group that scored four times in the first 18 minutes in its Oct. 24 win over Phoenix.
Dwight King - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Mike Richards - Jeff Carter - Matt Frattin
Dustin Brown - Jarret Stoll - Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford - Colin Fraser - Jordan Nolan
Robyn Regehr - Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Jake Muzzin - Matt Greene
Scratched: Keaton Ellerby, Alec Martinez
Mikkel Boedker – Mike Ribeiro – Radim Vrbata
Rob Klinkhammer– Antoine Vermette – Shane Doan
Tim Kennedy – Andy Miele – David Moss
Jordan Szwarz – Kyle Chipchura– Paul Bissonnette
Zbynek Michalek – Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Keith Yandle – Derek Morris
David Schlemko – Michael Stone
Injuries: Lauri Korpikoski (upper body), Rostislav Klesla (lower body), Jeff Halpern (upper body)
Suspended: Martin Hanzal
Scratched: David Rundblad