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Kings start five-game trip with visit to Phoenix

by John Kreiser

KINGS (4-1-0) at COYOTES (1-2-1)

TV -- FS-West; FS-Arizona

Season series -- The Pacific Division rivals are playing the first of their six games this season. The teams split last season's series, with each winning three times -- twice in regulation and once in a shootout.

Big story -- Each team will be without one of its stars as they meet for the first time this season as the Kings start their five-game road trip. Phoenix captain Shane Doan begins a three-game suspension handed down for his hit on Anaheim's Dan Sexton on Sunday night. The Kings will be without defenseman Drew Doughty, who left Wednesday's 4-3 victory against Carolina with an upper-body injury and didn't make the trip to the desert.

Team Scope

Kings -- After playing just four times in the first 12 days of the season, the Kings began a stretch that will see them play seven times in 11 days by holding off the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Wednesday night. Rookie Andrei Loktionov's first NHL goal broke a tie early in the third period.

Anze Kopitar, who scored his first of the season earlier in the game, thinks getting his first goal will help Loktionov calm the rookie jitters.

"To get it out of the way, the first one, I think it will help him relax," Kopitar said. "He'll be making plays. Watch out for him."

Coyotes -- The Coyotes had the best season in franchise history in 2009-10 despite not scoring a lot of goals, and their offensive struggles have continued into the new season. They've managed just three goals in their last three games, all losses.

"We've generated some chances," coach Dave Tippett told the team's website. "I would like to see us finish a little more. We've got some people that have been around there, but haven't finished. (Lee) Stempniak leads our team in chances-for and still hasn't gotten on the board yet. But we need those offensive guys to certainly pick up the play. (Wojtek) Wolski is another one. We need him to contribute offensively, especially with Doan out now."

Who's hot -- Newcomer Eric Belanger had a goal and an assist in Sunday's 3-2 loss at Anaheim and leads the Coyotes with 3 points in four games.

Injury report -- Doughty didn't come back for the second period after sustaining what the team called an upper-body injury and didn't make the trip to Phoenix, though coach Terry Murray said he might join the team later in the trip. The Kings are still without defenseman Matt Greene (shoulder) and forward Scott Parse (groin). Both are skating but haven't played a game this season. … Phoenix placed center Martin Hanzal on IR with a lower-body injury this week, but expects to get forward Ray Whitney back after he missed two games with an upper-body injury. The Coyotes also hope defenseman Ed Jovanovski will be able to play after missing a game with an undisclosed injury.

Stat pack -- Ilya Bryzgalov is 11-4-2 lifetime against the Kings, the most wins he's had against any team. … The two first-period goals by Carolina on Wednesday were the first allowed by the Kings in the opening period this season.

Puck drop -- Doan will miss the first game of his three-game suspension, snapping his streak of 193 consecutive regular-season appearances. He hasn't missed a game since Dec. 11, 2008 -- though he did miss the last few games of the Coyotes' playoff series against Detroit last spring.

"I've never been suspended and you feel guilty to your teammates," Doan said. "I feel bad. My job is to play the game."

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