NHL Preview: Los Angeles Kings vs Arizona Coyotes

Hockey NHL Sports

37  Los Angeles Kings  5.5  + 1.5 (- 180)

38  Arizona Coyotes  – 167  – 1.5 (+ 155)

The Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes will play the first of two games this week on Monday, with Arizona hosting the first meeting and the Kings at home for a matinee on Nov. 23.

Both teams are coming off wins on Saturday night, the Kings 4-3 over Vegas and the Coyotes 3-0 over Calgary.

The Coyotes’ game drew national highlight attention for a fight late in the second period in which Arizona goaltender Darcy Kuemper grabbed Matthew Tkachuk and slammed him to the ice after Tkachuk cross-checked the Coyotes’ Jason Demers.

Kuemper drew a standing ovation from Coyotes fans for his dirty work and finished the night on an even higher note with a 37-save shutout, his second of the season and eighth as a Coyote.

“I didn’t think it would escalate to that. It happens, a little bit of fun and then we got back to work,” Kuemper said.

“You never want to see Kemps get in a fight,” Coyotes Rick Tocchet added. “But his initiative to do that added a lot to our team. The whole bench got juiced up after that.”

The Coyotes hope the momentum from Saturday — which gave them three wins in their past four games and fired up a crowd that is starting to believe in this team — will continue against the rival Kings. Arizona is in the midst of a stretch of seven of eight games against Pacific Division opponents.

“You have to win these games,” Demers said. “They’re four-point swings, and it’s a pretty big logjam right now in the Pacific. A lot of teams are doing well. We’ve got to keep banking points.”

The Kings led twice by two goals over the Golden Knights on Saturday, but lost both leads as Vegas rallied to tie. Then Jeff Carter scored what would be the winner at 12:42 of the third period, in his 1,000th career NHL game.

Los Angeles will be facing a cold Coyotes power play that is 1 for its past 24. The Kings were 1 of 2 on the man advantage on Saturday, even if it wasn’t their best performance.

“Overall, we’re happy with the win,” Kings coach Todd McLellan told the Kings website. “Wouldn’t call it our best game, it’s probably one of our uglier games this year. But a team’s got to learn to how to win different ways.”

Carter also played his 500th game as a member of the Kings.

“Jeff’s a goal scorer and has scored big goals like that his whole career, so I don’t think anyone is too shocked in here,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said.

The Kings have their first three-game winning streak of the season. Doughty’s goal against Vegas was his 480th career point, moving him past Jim Fox for 10th place on L.A.’s all-time points list.