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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, October 6th (All times eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (0-1-0) at Los Angeles Kings (0-1-0), 10:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Wayne Gretzky takes another shot at his first coaching victory tonight when the Phoenix Coyotes visit one of his former teams, the Los Angeles Kings, at the Staples Center.

Gretzky made his regular season coaching debut on Wednesday night, but the Coyotes dropped a 3-2 contest in Vancouver. Phoenix was burned by superstar Markus Naslund, who tallied two goals for the Canucks.

Keith Ballard scored his first NHL goal in his first career game and Oleg Saprykin added a late tally for Phoenix, which fell to 11-11-4 in season- openers dating back to its days as the Winnipeg Jets.

Veteran netminder Curtis Joseph made his debut in goal for the Coyotes and allowed three goals on 30 shots in the losing effort.

Gretzky, after making his mark in the NHL record books as a player and finding success running Team Canada, decided to take over behind the Coyotes' bench in August. He will face a Kings team that he played for following a 1988 trade from Edmonton until 1996.

The Kings, meanwhile, lost a 5-4 contest in Dallas on Wednesday. LA allowed five unanswered goals to blow a 4-0 lead and the game.

Jeremy Roenick scored two goals in his debut for the Kings. Roenick was traded to Los Angeles by Philadelphia to make room under the cap for the Flyers new arrival, Peter Forsberg. Sean Avery and Dustin Brown also scored for the Kings, who generated all of their offensive production in the first period.

Mathieu Garon stopped 25 shots for LA in his debut with the team.

Tonight's tilt begins a five-game homestand for the Kings, who will host Minnesota on Sunday.

Los Angeles went 3-2-1 against Phoenix in 2003-04 and is 6-2-1 in the last nine meetings overall.

The Coyotes are 0-6-4 in their last 10 trips to LA.

10/06 10:55:18 ET

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