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Phoenix Coyotes vs. Los Angeles Kings

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GAME: Phoenix Coyotes (20-27-16-5) at Los Angeles Kings (25-19-16-7).

TIME: Tuesday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

The Los Angeles Kings will look to snap a three-game winless skid, and move into sole possession of eighth place in the Western Conference when they begin a home-and-home series with the struggling Phoenix Coyotes.

Los Angeles lost 4-2 at home to Montreal on Saturday and is 0-2-1 since going unbeaten in its previous four contests. The Kings are tied for eighth place with St. Louis, which won two games over the weekend.

The Blues host the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

On Saturday, the Kings couldn't catch a break as Jaroslav Modry hit the left post during a power play about 8{ minutes into the game. He hit the right post with 7:43 to play, just seconds after Jozef Stumpel fanned on a perfect setup in front of the net from Alexander Frolov.

Ian Laperriere hit the post with 4:06 left.

"All you can ask of your team is that they put in a solid work ethic and play with structure, and we did both things," Kings coach Andy Murray said. "Unfortunately, we were soft three times in the defensive zone and it cost us the game."

Phoenix extended its winless skid to eight (0-4-2-2) with Sunday's 1-1 tie at home against Minnesota. The Coyotes went winless in a season-high nine a row from Oct. 16-Nov. 6.

Newly acquired goaltender Brent Johnson made his first start with the Coyotes, forward Mike Rupp was in the lineup for the first time since coming over from New Jersey and center Erik Westrum made his NHL debut for Phoenix.

Johnson stopped 30 shots, and Rupp and Westrum played well according to interim coach Rick Bowness.

"We had a lot of new faces in the lineup tonight, but that is the way things go at times at this level," Bowness said. "All of the new guys tonight did their jobs and helped us earn a point, but I am not satisfied with the way we played. We had some mental breakdowns and we have to improve our mental toughness."

The Coyotes and Kings conclude their season series in Phoenix on Wednesday.

STANDINGS: Coyotes - 61 points, 5th place, 22 PB, Pacific Division. Kings - 73 points, 3rd place, 10 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Coyotes - Ladislav Nagy, 24 goals; Shane Doan, 40 assists and 62 points; Andrei Nazarov, 118 PIM. Kings - Frolov, 20 goals; Stumpel, 26 assists; Luc Robitaille, 43 points; Sean Avery, 232 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 7): Coyotes - Power play: 15.1 percent (46 for 304), 22nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (279 for 340), 23rd. Kings - Power play: 13.9 percent (41 for 294), 27th. Penalty killing: 81.0 percent (235 for 290), 27th.

GOALTENDERS: Coyotes - Brian Boucher (9-15-8, 5 SO, 2.73 GAA); Johnson (4-3-2, 1, 2.26). Kings - Cristobal Huet (7-9-10, 3, 2.49); Mathieu Chouinard (0-0-0, 0.00).

SEASON SERIES: Coyotes, 2-1-1.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 31; Coyotes, 4-0. At Phoenix, Boucher made 21 saves to earn his first shutout in more than two years, and four players scored as the Coyotes won for the first time in three games at the new Glendale Arena.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Coyotes - 10-12-10-2 on the road; Kings - 13-10-9-1 at home.


Associated Press
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