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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, March 9th (All times eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (20-27-16-5) at Los Angeles Kings (25-19-16-7), 10:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Kings try to help their playoffs chances tonight when they open a home-and-home series against the lowly Phoenix Coyotes at the Staples Center.

Los Angeles and St. Louis are tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 73 points apiece.

On Saturday, Richard Zednik scored twice in the third period, and added an assist, to lead Montreal to a 4-2 win over Los Angeles at the Staples Center.

Eric Belanger posted a goal and an assist for the Kings, who are winless in last three (0-2-1). Trent Klatt also scored and Cristobal Huet stopped 20 shots in the loss.

Klatt made it a 3-2 game with 33 seconds left in the third period, but Zednik scored into an empty net with just two seconds remaining.

Los Angeles, 3-1-1 in its last five games at the Staples Center, complete a three-game homestand tonight.

The Coyotes continued their winless streak Sunday night when they skated to a 1-1 tie against the Minnesota Wild. Brent Johnson finished with 30 saves in his first game with his new team, helping the Phoenix Coyotes earn the point at Glendale Arena.

Johnson came over to Phoenix from St. Louis via trade on March 4 in exchange for center Mike Sillinger. The 27-year-old netminder had played in just 10 games with the Blues this season, floating back and forth between St. Louis and the team's AHL affiliate.

Ivan Novoseltsev scored Phoenix's lone goal, but the Coyotes still remained winless in their last eight games (0-4-2-2). Phoenix is also looking for its first win under new head coach Rick Bowness (0-3-1-2).

Novoseltsev now has two goals this season. His other tally came on October 24 against Minnesota when he was playing for Florida.

The Coyotes have 61 points this season and are only trailed by Columbus and Chicago in the Western Conference standings.

Phoenix made a trade with Colorado before the deadline, sending veteran center Chris Gratton and defenseman Ossi Vaananen to the Avs in exchange for defensemen Derek Morris and Keith Ballard and a second-round pick in the 2004 Entry Draft.

Phoenix is unbeaten in its last three matchups against the Kings (2-0-1). However, the Coyotes are 0-5-4 in their previous nine trips to Los Angeles.

03/09 14:24:33 ET


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