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Arizona hopes to gain ground in wild card race; Los Angeles 4-2-1 in past seven games

by Alan Robinson / Correspondent

KINGS (29-41-9) at COYOTES (38-33-8)



The Game

The Arizona Coyotes will try to improve their position in the Western Conference wild-card race when they play the Los Angeles Kings at Gila River Arena on Tuesday.

The Coyotes are 2-3-3 in their past eight games and two points behind the Colorado Avalanche for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the West. The Avalanche are home against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.

Goalie Darcy Kuemper, who has two shutouts in his past three games, will make his 21st consecutive start for Arizona. 

The Kings are playing the second of a back to back after a 7-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday. They have been eliminated from playoff contention but are 4-2-1 in their past seven games.


Players to watch

Kings center Anze Kopitar has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his past nine games.

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


They said it

"The last three games, you're not going to flip the switch and turn it around right away, but we've got to start working towards the future and just building the chemistry and the culture again." -- Kings center Anze Kopitar

"We've got to make sure we stay with it and keep doing the right things and good things will happen. That's the attitude we have to have. You can't worry about anything else, you can't worry about who's playing who." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet


Kings projected lineup

Alex Iafallo -- Anze Kopitar -- Dustin Brown

Kyle Clifford -- Jeff Carter -- Trevor Lewis

Carl Grundstrom -- Adrian Kempe -- Tyler Toffoli

Austin Wagner -- Michael Amadio -- Ilya Kovalchuk

Derek Forbort -- Drew Doughty

Alec Martinez -- Matt Roy

Dion Phaneuf -- Paul LaDue

Jack Campbell

Jonathan Quick

Scratched: Sean Walker, Jonny Brodzinski

Injured: Brendan Leipsic (lower body), Kurtis MacDermid (upper body)


Coyotes projected lineup

Richard Panik -- Derek Stepan -- Clayton Keller

Michael Grabner -- Brad Richardson -- Vinnie Hinostroza

Lawson Crouse -- Christian Dvorak -- Josh Archibald

Alex Galchenyuk -- Nick Cousins -- Conor Garland

Oliver Ekman-Larsson -- Jason Demers

Alex Goligoski -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Kevin Connauton -- Jordan Oesterle

Darcy Kuemper

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Jakob Chychrun, Mario Kempe, Ilya Lyubushkin, Christian Fischer

Injured: Antti Raanta (lower body), Nick Schmaltz (lower body), Kyle Capobianco (lower body)


Status report

MacDermid was injured Monday and will not play. … Raanta, out since Nov. 27, could resume practicing if the Coyotes reach the playoffs.


Stat pack

Brown has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his past nine games. … Kuemper is 13-5-3 with a 1.69 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and four shutouts in his past 21 starts.

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