NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, October 21st (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Kings (4-1-0) at Phoenix Coyotes (1-2-1), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Both the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes will be without a key member of their roster when the Pacific Division rivals square off for the first time this season tonight at Jobing.com Arena.
The Kings, winners of three straight games, head to the desert without defenseman Drew Doughty because of an upper-body injury, while Coyotes captain Shane Doan begins a three-game suspension due to a hit to the head in his club's most recent game.
Los Angeles lost Doughty, a Norris Trophy finalist last season, for the final two periods of Wednesday's 4-3 win over Carolina. He did not make the trip to Phoenix but the club is hopeful he will return at some point during its five- game road trip that begins tonight.
Despite the loss of Doughty, the Kings were able to kill off a pair of third- period power plays for the Hurricanes to hold onto their lead. Jonathan Bernier made 27 saves, including all 15 shots faced in the third.
"Penalty killing was seen at its best at the end of the game with two big penalty kills," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "It's been good from the very start and that's what you have to have when you want to win games in this league; you have to have your penalty killing going at the right time, and your goaltender has to make the timely saves. Bernier was good here at the end."
Andrei Loktionov netted his first career NHL game from an odd angle early in the third frame for the game-winner, while Anze Kopitar potted his first goal of the season. Michal Handzus and Ryan Smyth also scored for the Kings, who picked up three straight wins at home following their lone loss of the season on Oct. 10 in Calgary.
Jonathan Quick is likely to return to net tonight and he is a perfect 3-0-0 in three starts this year with a 0.97 goals-against average. He is 5-5-1 with a 2.61 GAA lifetime against the Coyotes.
Phoenix begins play without Doan after he was suspended on Monday for three games one day after the NHL ruled he hit Anaheim skater Dan Sexton in the head during the Ducks' 3-2 win over Phoenix. No penalty was called on the play, but Doan will still miss his first regular-season game since Dec. 11, 2008.
"I accept the decision of the NHL ... but I disagree with it. I was pretty shocked at the fact I got suspended, let alone for three games."
Doan had two assists in Sunday's loss, while Eric Belanger and Scottie Upshall supplied the goals. Jason LaBarbera made 32 saves, but Phoenix fell to 0-2-1 in three games since winning its season-opener over Boston in Prague.
"There was lots of effort, but we have to find ways to win," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett, whose club has scored just three goals over its winless stretch.
Phoenix will also be without Martin Hanzal after he suffered a lower-body injury versus Anaheim and was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
However, while Ed Jovanovski (upper body) and Ray Whitney (upper body) both missed Sunday's loss, the duo are both expected back tonight. Jovanovski was a late scratch, while Whitney has missed the last two games.
Ilya Bryzgalov should get the start in net tonight for Phoenix and is a solid 11-4-2 with a 2.40 GAA in his career against Los Angeles.
These two clubs split six meetings last year, but the Coyotes have won five of nine and seven of the last 12 meetings. The Kings won two of the three games played in Phoenix last year.
10/21 10:55:41 ET