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Coyotes hope to find offense against Kings

by Brian Compton

COYOTES (13-11-4) at KINGS (15-10-2)


Last 10: Phoenix 5-4-1; Los Angeles 6-4-0.

Season series: This is the third of five meetings. The teams have split the first two games, both of which were played at Arena. The series shifts to Los Angeles on Monday.

Big story: Just two points separate these Pacific Division rivals as they battle for positioning in the race to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. While it’s unlikely either team will catch Anaheim for first place, both clubs could be in the mix for fourth place in the Western Conference, which guarantees home-ice advantage in the opening round.

Team scope:

Coyotes: Phoenix has experienced a tremendous amount of difficulty scoring goals of late. In fact, the Coyotes have been shut out in back-to-back games and last scored nearly a week ago, when they beat the Kings by a 5-2 score on home ice. Since then, the Coyotes suffered a 3-0 loss at St. Louis last Thursday before a 1-0 shootout defeat at Columbus on Saturday. Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all 39 shots he faced in that one.

“They play a very similar game and style as we do,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. “Their goaltender's played very well for the past month, and (Mike Smith) played very well tonight, so that's pretty much what you got -- a stalemate until it got to the shootout.”

Kings: After suffering a 4-3 defeat at San Jose on Thursday, the Kings got their revenge on the Sharks on Saturday in a 5-2 victory at Staples Center. Kyle Clifford recorded his first two-goal game in the NHL and Jonathan Bernier made 21 saves for Los Angeles, which opened a five-game homestand.

The Kings also avoided losing three in a row in regulation for the first time since a five-game skid in December 2011.

"We kind of have that New England Patriot mindset where we don't want to lose two in a row," said Clifford, one of 12 Kings to hit the scoresheet Saturday. "Coming off a two-game loss, that's big for us. We definitely wanted to come back here."

Who’s hot: Kings captain Dustin Brown is 5-2-7 in the past five contests. Three of his five goals have come via the power play. Jarret Stoll has two goals and two assists in the past five.

Injury report: Phoenix defenseman Zbynek Michalek (ankle) is day-to-day. Forward Radim Vrbata (foot) is on injured reserve. … Defenseman Willie Mitchell (knee) and Matt Greene (back) are out for Los Angeles.

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