A five-game winning streak would be a perfect holiday gift for fans. And the Los Angeles Kings (19-12-5) can provide that with a victory over the Arizona Coyotes (10-16-5) tonight.
Puck drops at 6:30.
Both teams will be in their reverse retro jerseys for the game.
Despite playing a team near the bottom of the league standings, this won't be easy for the Kings. They landed in Arizona around 1:00 AM Friday morning and will play less than 24 hours after a hard-fought battle against the Calgary Flames.
This will be a big test for Jonathan Quick in net, who's been relegated to backup goalie since the ascension of Pheonix Copley. Todd McLellan has said a few times he trusts Quick will perform when he's back in. And reassured us it was more a team issue than a Quick issue. We'll see how true that is tonight.
Last time the Coyotes and Kings met, LA took the contest 5-3, off the back of an excellent two-goal performance from Anze Kopitar. It was also the first game after the infamous 9-8 loss against Seattle and the decision to send Cal Petersen to the minors.
With no morning skate, there's no indication of what tonight's lineup will look like. But I wouldn't expect many changes. Jordan Spence might draw back in and Brendan Lemieux could see a return to the lineup after being reactivated.
Lemieux will bring back an element the team is missing and one only he can bring.
"The role that Brendan fills, the physicality, the battles, and the forecheck and the body contact can be shared by everybody," said McLellan on what the team is missing without Lemieux. "The policing part of it, every team might have one, some teams don't have any. That's where he specializes a little bit more than some other guys have."
These will be game-time decisions, but one thing is sure. Arthur Kaliyev will not be in the lineup. After blocking a shot late in the game against Anaheim Tuesday, he missed Thursday's game and will be out tonight according to McLellan.
Expected Los Angeles Kings Lines:
Kevin Fiala-Anze Kopitar-Adrian Kempe
Alex Iafallo-Phil Danault-Trevor Moore
Gabe Vilardi-Blake Lizotte-Viktor Arvidsson
Jaret Anderson-Dolan-Rasmus Kupari-Carl Grundstrom/Brendan Lemieux
Mikey Anderson-Drew Doughty
Sean Durzi-Matt Roy
Alex Edler-Sean Walker/Jordan Spence
Expected Arizona Coyotes Lines:
Clayton Keller-Travis Boyd-Nick Schmaltz
Lawson Crouse-Nick Bjugstad-Matias Maccelli
Nick Ritchie-Barret Hayton-Christian Fischer
Jack McBain-Zack Kassian
Jakob Chychrun-Shayne Gostisbehere
J.J. Moser-Josh Brown
Patrik Nemeth-Troy Stecher
Los Angeles Kings Power Play: 29-121, 22.48%, 16th in NHL
Los Angeles Kings Penalty Kill: 36-124, 70.97%, 28th in NHL
Arizona Coyotes Power Play: 20-104, 19.23%, 25th in NHL
Arizona Coyotes Penalty Kill: 31-130, 76.15%, 22nd in NHL
Los Angeles Kings Pre-Game Notes:
- Anze Kopitar sits four points shy of 1,100 in his career. Only two LA Kings skaters have eclipsed 1,100 points in their career with the Kings: Marcel Dionne (1,307) and Luc Robitaille (1,154).
- In their previous meeting earlier this year on Dec. 1, the Kings earned their 100th victory against the Coyotes in franchise history.
- Phillip Danault and Blake Lizotte scored 10 seconds apart last night, marking the fastest two goals by the Kings this season. The last time the Kings tallied twice in 10 seconds or less was on March 10, when Danault and Andreas Athanasiou did so in eight seconds.
- Viktor Arvidsson (121) has the fifth-most even-strength goals among 2014 NHL Draftees, sitting behind David Pastrnak (169), Leon Draisaitl (161), Nikolaj Ehlers (132) and Brayden Point (122).
- Carl Grundstrom (88) leads the team in hits.
How to Watch:
TV: Bally Sports West, ESPN+; Radio: iHeartRadio