Coyotes vs. the road warriors: Can Phoenix end LA Kings’ road domination?

Down 3-1 in their series with the Los Angeles Kings and heading home for Game 5 on Tuesday night, the Phoenix Coyotes will have to accomplish something that hasn't been done since the final two games of the regular season:

Giving the Kings consecutive losses.

In staying alive in the series with a 2-0 win in Game 4, the Coyotes found a way to break through Los Angeles' relentless forecheck. They kept the Kings off the scoreboard for the first time since late March.

Facing such a deficit in the series, the obvious "one game at a time" cliche has and will continue to be broken out by the Coyotes should they extend things.

"We're in the same boat we were the other night," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett.

"If we don't play well and we don't win, we go home."

The Kings have been in this situation before. They dropped Game 4 to the Vancouver Canucks in Round 1 at Staples Center before ending things on a Jarret Stoll goal in overtime in Game 5 on the road.

But despite its commanding lead in this series, and the chance one game could change momentum, Los Angeles learned against Vancouver how important closing out a series is when given the opportunity.

From Lisa Dillman of the L.A. Times:

"We've got to win this next game," said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. "We gave them hope last night. We let them back into the series, making it 3-1. So this next game is huge. If they win that one, then we're coming back [to L.A.], and they win one more, they push it to a Game 7.

"We've got to play our best game. I think our last couple games we really slacked off, haven't played our best hockey as a team. Going into the next one in their barn, we've got to be at our best or things are going to change in the series."

The Kings are winners of 7-of-7 on the road. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, should they win Tuesday night, they'd become the first NHL team to advance to the Stanley Cup Final without losing on the road since the league implemented the current playoff format before the 1993-94 season.

The law of averages says they're due for a loss at some point. But if Mike Smith can play like he did in Game 4, the celebrations in Los Angeles will have to be delayed.

Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy

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