Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2011-12 season:
Game 41 vs. Phoenix
January 5, 2012
7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)
We’re only halfway through the season and this will already be the fourth meeting of the season between the Kings and Coyotes. Los Angeles holds a 2-0-1 record against their divisional rivals with a 4-3 win at home just a little over a week ago on December 26.
Despite missing both Simon Gagne and Slava Voynov due to injuries, the Kings have played very well lately, especially when Darryl Sutter took over, who they have yet to lose a regulation game under. Under Sutter, Los Angeles is boasting a 4-0-3 record and a 5-0-3 record overall. Of course, the Coyotes will have something to say about that.
Last game, despite losing, Phoenix’s Raffi Torres scored a pair against the Kings. Fortunately for Los Angeles, Torres is serving a suspension and will not be in the Phoenix lineup tomorrow night as a result. Even with Torres out, the Kings must still find a way to contain the likes of Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata, to name just a couple. Although the latter has gone pointless in nine of his last ten games, he has had his success against the Kings earlier this season and can break out of his slump at any time.
Despite playing better hockey since Sutter’s taken over behind the bench, the Kings still struggle offensively. Their average of 2.1 goals per game is worst in the league, plus they’ve only scored more than two goals twice in their last 19. With that said, though, one of those times came against the Coyotes on the 26th when the Kings scored four times.
While Los Angeles is unbeaten in their last eight, the Yotes have lost five or their last six. However, maybe a divisional matchup is just what the doctor ordered. After all, Phoenix is just three points behind their rivals from the City of Angels.
While Phoenix hopes to get back on the winning track, the Kings hope to send their fans home knowing that their unbeaten streak will continue. We’ll see what happens.
Enjoy the game!
Photo: Courtesy of Frank Gunn