Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2013-14 season:
Game 77 vs. Phoenix
April 2, 2014
7:30pm PST (10:30pm EST)
After having their six-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Minnesota Wild on Monday, the Los Angeles Kings hope to create a new winning streak as they close out their homestand against the team chasing them for third in the Pacific, the Phoenix Coyotes, on Wednesday.
This marks the fifth and final meeting between the two rivals this season with the Desert Dogs winning the last three. The Kings did beat the Coyotes 7-4 in their first meeting, but that was way back on October 24. Most recently, the Coyotes beat the Kings at Staples Center on St. Patrick’s Day, winning 4-3 after trailing through two periods. The Kings hope to salvage something out of this season series.
With no love lost between these two teams, both enter Wednesday night with a great sense of determination. Having just played the previous night in Glendale, you can be sure that the Coyotes won’t let fatigue slow them down. But the Coyotes did lose to Winnipeg in the shootout on Tuesday, which means Los Angeles’s magic number to clinch third-place in the Pacific is down to four. Simply put, if the Kings can beat Phoenix on Wednesday in regulation, they will finish no worse than third in their division. Since catching San Jose for second is slim, it is safe to assume that the Kings will finish no better than third entering the playoffs.
As for the Kings, a half-dozen of its players celebrated very productive months of Match as they hope to enter April the same way.
Anze Kopitar and Alec Martinez each registered points in 11 of their 15 games last month with the latter scoring against Phoenix just a couple of weeks ago. Marian Gaborik, who also scored against the Coyotes en route to said loss, registered points in eight games last month, making his first month as a King a successful one.
But the Coyotes, who would like to catch the Kings for third in the Pacific, are in a dogfight for that final wild card spot in the West.
Defenseman Keith Yandle is certainly someone to watch out for as he scored and added an assist back on March 17 to help his team defeat the Kings. Rob Klinkhammer and Jeff Halpern also scored for the Coyotes en route to the win. The Kings need to watch out for them in addition to captain Shane Doan who, despite most of the league thinking he’s a saint, is public enemy No. 1 in the eyes of Kings fans and quite possibly the Kings themselves.
The Desert Dogs may have the 3-1 advantage in this season series but anything can happen on Wednesday as both teams will come out equally hungry to beat the other. It should be good.
Enjoy the game!