Phoenix and Los Angeles
are two Western Conference playoff teams that figure on really getting to know each other the next week or two. The Coyotes (42-25-7-5) and Kings (45-28-4-2) are currently fourth and fifth in the standings with 96 points each, and the regular season concludes this weekend.
This contest will go a long way in determining who finally claims the Western Conference’s fourth seed and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Wednesday’s matchup is slated to start at 7:30 p.m. PT from Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Phoenix takes the ice for the first time since Friday’s shootout setback to Colorado as decided 254 home ‘chalk,’ 4-3. The combined seven goals toppled the 5 ½-goal closing total, ending a string of seven straight ‘under’ outings.
The Coyotes limited the Avalanche to just one shot on goal in the third period, but Colorado scored late in regulation to send the contest to overtime. Phoenix’s Shane Doan had a power-play goal and assist, while Lee Stempniak and Ray Whitney also lit the lamp. The Coyotes finished the contest with advantages in faceoffs won, 35-27, and shots on goal, 38-20.
Los Angeles is also trying to get back into the win column after Monday’s loss to San Jose as a 152 road underdog, 6-1. The combined seven goals toppled the NHL odds, snapping a string of four consecutive ‘under’ outings.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick was pulled early in the second period after yielding four goals, while backup Jonathan Bernier surrendered an additional two goals. Michal Handzus scored the Kings’ lone goal early in the second period. The Kings won more faceoffs, 25-22, but they allowed more shots on goal, 35-32.
Phoenix has won three of the five meetings with Los Angeles this season, but the Kings have won the past two encounters. The Coyotes prevailed Oct. 21 as a 135 home favorite, 4-2, Dec. 29 as a 111 home underdog, 6-3, and Jan. 20 as a 128 road ‘dog, 2-0. Los Angeles triumphed Jan. 22 as 104 road ‘chalk,’ 4-3, and March 3 as a 167 home favorite, 1-0. The home team is 37-18-6 the previous 61 meetings between these teams.
Phoenix left wing Taylor Pyatt (upper body), defenseman Ed Jovanovski (eye) and left wing Lauri Korpikoski (upper body) are ‘probable’ versus the Kings due to injuries, while center Martin Hanzal (lower body) is ‘questionable’ and defenseman Kurt Sauer (concussion) is ‘out.’
Los Angeles center Anze Kopitar (ankle) and right wing Justin Williams (shoulder) are ‘out’ for at least the rest of the regular season.
Phoenix concludes its regular season with a home-and-home series with San Jose. Los Angeles also wraps up the regular campaign with a home-and-home set, playing city rival Anaheim.
The Coyotes have seen the ‘under’ go 7-1 their past eight outings overall, and the ‘under’ is 7-1 the previous eight games versus Western Conference opponents. The Kings are 7-3 their last 10 games against Pacific Division teams, while the ‘under’ has gone 11-5-1 the past 17 divisional opponents.