Coyotes-Kings Preview

NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO (STATS Writer)
The Associated Press

The Phoenix Coyotes still haven't scored a goal on their road trip entering the finale of the four-game trek.

It hasn't proven easy to end the drought against one of the NHL's best home teams.

The Los Angeles Kings would like to extend Phoenix's woes Tuesday night when the teams meet for the second straight night at Staples Center.

Los Angeles (16-10-2) has won 10 of its last 11 at home, improving to 11-2-1 there. The Kings' 23 points as host tie them with Chicago and Ottawa for second in the league, one behind Anaheim.

That success has continued with back-to-back wins to begin this five-game homestand after a pair of road losses, including a 5-2 defeat at Phoenix (13-12-4) last Tuesday. The Kings avenged that defeat Monday, beating the Coyotes 4-0.

A rare scheduling quirk gives Los Angeles a chance at another home victory over Phoenix, which has set an unpleasant team record by being shut out for three straight games - four in a row on the road.

The Coyotes haven't scored in a span of 194 minutes, 5 seconds since rookie Rob Klinkhammer beat Jonathan Quick with 9:05 remaining last week.

"Nobody wants to go three games without a goal, but it happens and you've got to find ways to get through it," said captain Shane Doan, who leads the Coyotes with nine goals.

Quick made 27 saves Monday for his first shutout of the season.

"I thought I played well," Quick said. "I was seeing pucks well and the guys did a good job of clearing out lanes and letting me see it. I let a couple of rebounds get away from me, but we did a good job of making sure there weren't second opportunities.

"It's just good to win. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how you do it. You still get two points."

He's 11-3-2 with a 1.88 goals-against average and four shutouts over his last 16 starts against the Coyotes, and that includes ousting them in five games in last year's Western Conference finals. Phoenix has scored four goals in its last five games at Los Angeles.

The Kings aren't having much trouble finding the net, outscoring opponents 18-5 during a four-game home winning streak.

Jeff Carter has played a major role in Los Angeles' excellent play at home, scoring 10 goals in the last 10 games there after netting another and setting up Tyler Toffoli's first NHL tally Monday.

Carter is among the league leaders with 18 goals, while Anze Kopitar leads the Kings with 27 points after getting two in the opener of this back-to-back set. He has 21 points in 20 career regular-season meetings with Phoenix at Staples Center.

The Coyotes are among the worst road teams in the NHL at 3-7-3, and their three-game overall slide is their longest of the season. Still, they're tied with San Jose for the eighth and final playoff position in the crowded Western Conference.

Mike Smith was pulled in favor of Jason LaBarbera in the third period Monday after yielding four goals on 22 shots. Before Monday, he had posted a 1.00 GAA and two shutouts in seven career games at Los Angeles, including the postseason.

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