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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, March 18th (All times Eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (13-11-4) at Los Angeles Kings (15-10-2), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes have yet to score a goal on their current road trip.
The struggling club will try to avoid a fourth straight setback on the road Monday night when it plays the first of two straight against the Los Angeles Kings to conclude the swing.
The Coyotes have been shut out in three straight on the road. They had a two- game winning streak snapped with a 3-0 loss in St. Louis before dropping a 1-0 shootout decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.
Mike Smith made 23 saves through overtime to earn his fourth shutout of the season and 23rd of his career, but he was beaten twice in the breakaway session while Mikkel Boedker and Oliver Ekman-Larsson had their chances stopped.
"Our effort through the 65 minutes was very strong," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "We just need to get a little luck around the net."
Phoenix fell to 3-6-3 on the road and will end its current trek with another game in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
The Kings opened a five-game homestand on Saturday with a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The win snapped a two-game slide that included road losses in Phoenix and San Jose last week.
However, the Kings won for the 10th time in their last 14 games thanks to Kyle Clifford's first career two-goal game. Clifford and Justin Williams both scored in the first period to stake L.A. to a quick lead.
"We definitely wanted to tighten up, especially playing them two nights ago. We knew what our game plan was and defensive zone play was up there," said Clifford.
"We came out with a strong first period and got it going. We got them on their heels and put it to them."
Jarret Stoll and Dwight King added goals, while Jonathan Bernier gave up two goals on 22 shots as the Kings improved to 10-2-1 at home this season.
The Kings and Coyotes have split the first two of five meetings this season, both in Phoenix. The Coyotes notched a 5-2 win last Tuesday, with Boedker scoring twice and Smith coming up with 31 saves.
Los Angeles has won four of its past five at home versus Phoenix, but was blanked 1-0 in the last regular-season encounter at Staples Center on Feb. 16, 2012. Smith notched a 28-save shutout.
03/18 10:56:57 ET
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