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Kings host Coyotes in Pacific Division clash

by Mike G. Morreale /
COYOTES (18-14-3) at KINGS (16-14-5)
Last 10:
Phoenix 5-5-0; Los Angeles 3-6-1
Season series: This is the third of six meetings. In the first contest on Oct. 20, goalie Jonathan Quick stopped 28 shots in a 2-0 victory. In Game 2 nine days later, Daymond Langkow scored 4:16 into overtime and Mike Smith turned aside 33 shots as the Coyotes scored a 3-2 victory. The loss was Quick's first against the Coyotes in four games.
Big story: New Kings coach Darryl Sutter barely had time to catch his breath after officially taking over on Tuesday, shuffling his line combinations during practice on Wednesday before earning a 3-2 shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday and suffering a 2-1 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks on Friday. Sutter moved grinding winger Brad Richardson from the fourth line to the top line, and promoted winger Trevor Lewis from the third line to the second. The Kings have underachieved this season -- they currently sit 10th in the Western Conference with 37 points, two behind the ninth-seeded Coyotes.
Team Scope:
Coyotes: Shane Doan and Keith Yandle scored goals, but the Coyotes dropped a 3-2 decision to the St. Louis Blues on Friday in Glendale. The loss snapped the Coyotes' two-game winning streak. Phoenix goalie Jason LaBarbera, making his second straight start in the absence of Smith (lower-body injury), made 15 saves in the loss. The start of the game was delayed 30 minutes as former Coyotes captain Keith Tkachuk was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor.
Kings: The Kings dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the Sharks on Friday, marking the 14th straight game the team has scored fewer than three goals in regulation, the longest such streak in franchise history. Sutter coached in San Jose for five-plus seasons before being fired in December 2002 by then-GM Dean Lombardi. Lombardi is now the GM in Los Angeles. Sharks goalie Antti Niemi stopped Mike Richards in the fourth round of the shootout to give San Jose the victory. Richards did score his 13th goal of the season with 1:09 left in the second to pull the Kings into a 1-1 tie.
Who's hot: Phoenix right wing Lauri Korpikoski has 9 goals in 34 games -- almost halfway to his career high of 19 goals set last year. He has 4 goals and 7 points over his last nine games.
Injury report: Smith is day-to-day and defenseman Adrian Aucoin (lower body) is on injured reserve. … Kings forward Scott Parse is out for the season after hip surgery.
Stat pack: The Coyotes are 16-1-3 when scoring first this season, collecting 35 of a possible 40 points in those 20 games. In contrast, when Phoenix allows the first goal, it owns a 2-13-0 mark.
Puck drop: Two Coyotes prospects will represent the Canadian National Junior Team at the 2012 World Junior Championship in Edmonton beginning Monday against Finland. Goalie Mark Visentin (No. 27, 2010) is a returnee to the club after helping Team Canada to a silver medal last year. Defenseman Brandon Gormley (No. 13, 2010), who missed the 2011 WJC due to injury, will join Visentin.
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