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Kings at Coyotes preview

Kuemper to make first start vs. former team for Arizona; Los Angeles looks to climb in Pacific Division

by Craig Morgan / Correspondent

KINGS (38-26-5) at COYOTES (22-35-11)

10 p.m. ET; FS-A PLUS, FS-W, NHL.TV


The Game

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper will make his first start against his former team and try to prevent the Los Angeles Kings from gaining in the Pacific Division race at Gila River Arena on Tuesday.

Kuemper, who will make his fifth straight start, was acquired in a trade with the Kings for forward Tobias Rieder and goaltender Scott Wedgewood on Feb. 21. He is 2-1-1 with a 2.49 goals-against average, a .910 save percentage and a shutout in four starts with Arizona.

The Kings, 5-2-0 in their past seven games, are in third place in the Pacific Division, two points behind the San Jose Sharks and one point ahead of the Anaheim Ducks. 

The Coyotes, 4-1-1 in their past six games and 10-3-2 in their past 15, are 25 points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, and would be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss Tuesday.

Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet is on a leave of absence because of a family illness. Assistant John MacLean will coach Arizona in his absence.


Players to watch

Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his past 11 games.

Kings forward Anze Kopitar has five points (one goal, four assists) in a four-game point streak. 


They said it

"I don't pay that much attention. I just see where we are, if we're inside or if we're outside, and go from there." -- Kings forward Tyler Toffoli on the playoff race

"Nothing is going to change back there." -- Coyotes assistant John MacLean on coaching in Rick Tocchet's place


Kings projected lineup

Alex Iafallo -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Tobias Rieder -- Jeff Carter -- Trevor Lewis

Tanner Pearson -- Adrian Kempe -- Tyler Toffoli

Kyle Clifford -- Nate Thompson -- Torrey Mitchell

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Alec Martinez -- Dion Phaneuf

Jake Muzzin -- Christian Folin

Jack Campbell

Jonathan Quick

Scratched: Paul LaDue, Kevin Gravel, Michael Amadio, Andy Andreoff

Injured: None


Coyotes projected lineup

Richard Panik -- Derek Stepan -- Clayton Keller

Jordan Martinook -- Brad Richardson -- Nick Cousins

Max Domi -- Christian Dvorak -- Brendan Perlini

Josh Archibald -- Freddie Hamilton -- Christian Fischer

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers

Kevin Connauton -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Jakob Chychrun -- Alex Goligoski

Darcy Kuemper

Adin Hill

Scratched: Luke Schenn

Injured: Antti Raanta (lower body), Laurent Dauphin (lower body), Zac Rinaldo (upper body)


Status report

Rinaldo and Raanta skated Tuesday morning but will not play. Raanta will miss his fifth straight game, Rinaldo his seventh. … Dauphin will be out long-term, Coyotes general manager John Chayka said. Dauphin left a 5-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center in the third period on Saturday after blocking a shot. 


Stat pack

The Kings have allowed two goals or fewer in five of their past seven games. … The Coyotes have scored two goals or fewer in eight of their past 10 games, but have allowed two goals or fewer in eight of their past 13.

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