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Coyotes go for two-game sweep of Kings

by John Kreiser
KINGS (24-22-1) at COYOTES (24-15-9)

TV -- FS-West (HD); FS-Arizona Plus (HD)

Last 10 -- Los Angeles 2-8-0; Phoenix 7-2-1

Season series -- The teams are meeting for the fourth time this season and the second in three days. The Coyotes have won all three, including a 2-0 victory at L.A. on Thursday in the front end of the home-and-home series. Phoenix has won the last five games between the teams.

Big story -- Once upon a time -- a couple of months ago -- the Kings were atop the overall NHL standings while the Coyotes were struggling. The roles have since been reversed, with the Kings having lost 10 of their last 12 games while struggling to score and the Coyotes among the top four in the West.

Team Scope:

Kings -- The Kings were fourth in the West when they came to Arena on Dec. 29. The 6-3 loss they absorbed at the hands of the Coyotes didn't seem like much at the time, but it was the start of a streak that has seen them go 2-10-0 and drop to 12th in the Western Conference standings.

"It's just a tough stretch," defenseman Matt Greene said. "To get out of a slump like we're in, you've got to play some good hockey first. We're doing that right now, but we're just not seeing the results."

Coyotes -- The Coyotes had allowed nine goals in home losses to San Jose and Nashville before tightening up against L.A. They've gotten a boost from newly acquired defenseman Michal Rozsival, who came in a trade with the Rangers last week and got into the lineup this week.

"I think it's going fine," Rozsival told the team website when asked about the transition to the Coyotes' defense-first system. "It has only been a couple of games, but I'm already feeling better, more comfortable with the system and the structure of how this team is playing. I feel good, I feel more comfortable."

Who's hot -- Lee Stempniak has 3 goals and 6 points in the Coyotes' last four games. Defenseman Keith Yandle, the Coyotes' leading scorer, has 8 points during a six-game scoring streak.

Injury report -- The Kings placed forward Marco Sturm (lower body) on injured reserve on Thursday. … Coyotes defenseman David Schlemko is on IR with an undisclosed injury, while defenseman Ed Jovanovski has missed more than a week with a lower body injury, and center Vernon Fiddler is out with an upper-body injury.

Stat pack -- Bryzgalov is 12-2-1 with a 2.06 goals-against average in his last 15 starts against the Kings; he's 14-4-2 against them in his career. … The Kings have scored just one goal in their last 172:30 while losing their last three games.

Puck drop -- The Kings were irate Thursday night when Martin Hanzal's second-period deflection was called a goal and upheld on video review. GM Dean Lombardi was fined $50,000 by the League for his comments and offered an apology

"I spoke to the Commissioner today and he made it very clear to me that my actions last night were inappropriate and detrimental to the game," Lombardi said in a statement released by the team. "There is no question that his assessment is correct and the punishment fits the crime."

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