NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, March 3rd
(All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (33-22-10) at Los Angeles Kings (35-24-4), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Kings made the biggest splash at Monday's trade
deadline by adding Dustin Penner to strengthen their playoff push. The forward
will get a chance to have an early impact in the standings as Los Angeles
tries to pull even with the Pacific Division-rival Phoenix Coyotes tonight at
The Kings acquired Penner from the NHL-worst Edmonton Oilers for defensive
prospect Colten Teubert and a pair of draft picks, including a 2011 first-
round pick. Los Angeles was able to add Penner's scoring ability without
losing a player from its NHL roster, so Los Angeles is without a doubt
stronger on offense.
The simple news of Penner's addition didn't translate into success on the ice,
as the Kings lost a 7-4 decision to the Red Wings on Monday night. Michal
Handzus scored on the power play just 4:09 into the game, but Detroit tallied
the next seven goals to hand Los Angeles just its second regulation loss in 16
Dustin Brown, Wayne Simmonds and Brad Richardson all scored in the game's
final 7:34 for the Kings, while Jonathan Quick gave up six goals on 24 shots
before being pulled in the third period.
"You've got to have your goaltender on top of his game any time you play
Detroit, and [Quick] had a real tough game," Kings head coach Terry Murray
said after his club fell to 2-1 on a six-game homestand.
The Kings are tied with the Stars for seventh place in the West as well as two
points back of the Coyotes for second place in the division and fourth overall
in the conference.
Penner will try to improve Los Angeles' playoff chances in his debut tonight.
His 21 goals would tie him with Dustin Brown for the most on the team and he
skated on a line with Anze Kopitar and Simmonds on Wednesday.
"If I do get a chance to play with [Kopitar], obviously he's a big body and I
think our styles would blend well together," Penner told the Kings' website on
Tuesday. "We can both hold onto the puck and gets pucks to the net."
Penner will also try to improve the Kings' recent play versus the Coyotes.
Phoenix had won five straight prior to Los Angeles' 4-3 win in the desert on
Jan. 22 in the fourth of six meetings this year.
The Kings have lost two straight and five of their last seven at home to
Phoenix, including a 2-0 setback on Jan. 20 that featured a 36-save shutout by
Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who is 14-5-2 with a 2.38 goals-against
average in his career versus the Kings.
Quick is 6-8-1 with a 2.95 GAA in his career against Phoenix and has been in
net for all four meetings this year. He has struggled against Coyotes forward
Lee Stempniak, who has scored six of his 14 goals on the season versus Los
Stempniak hasn't scored in 16 straight games since a two-goal effort versus
the Kings on Jan. 22, including Tuesday's 3-2 setback to the Stars.
Rostislav Klesla, acquired from Columbus on Monday for forward Scottie Upshall
and defenseman Sami Lepisto, scored in his Phoenix debut and Ray Whitney tied
the game on a goal with 37.7 seconds left in regulation. However, forward
Radim Vrbata went off for hooking with 13 seconds to play and Dallas' Jamie
Benn scored the game-winner with 4.8 ticks on the clock.
"We have to play better down the stretch -- we cannot afford to play the way
we did tonight," said Shane Doan, who had two assists.
Klesla was playing for the first time since Jan. 22 due to a lower-body
injury, while Bryzgalov ended with 27 saves as the Coyotes lost their fourth
straight following an eight-game win streak.
Phoenix also had a five-game home winning streak end and carries a three-game
road slide into this contest.
03/03 11:01:16 ET