Los Angeles Kings 2015-16 Regular Season:
Game 15 vs. Arizona, November 10, 2015, 7:30pm PST
They have alternated between the win and loss columns over the last few games but coming off a win on Saturday, the Los Angeles Kings are hoping that they can create a new winning streak as they play host to the 6-6-1 Arizona Coyotes. The clubs meet for the second of five contests this season.
In their first meeting, the Desert Dogs dominated, beating the Kings by a 4-1 count back on Oct. 9 at STAPLES Center. However, the silver-and-black, to their credit, have looked like a completely different team since then. The uninspired losses have been very rare while the wins have been hard-fought and even memorable. The Kings would want nothing more on Tuesday than to show one of their fiercest rivals first-hand just how formidable they have become.
What will be happening on Tuesday, however, will not be limited to what happens during the game.
As the firs installment of their Legends Night series this season, the Kings will be honouring new Hall-of-Famer Nick Nickson prior to the game. Nickson is the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Foster Hewitt Award joining Bob Miller (who won the award in 2000) as the two Kings broadcasters who have been forever enshrined in the Hockey’s Hall.
Having been with the team since 1981, Nickson and Miller were broadcasting partners when the team had their simulcast. In 1990, though, the radio and television broadcasts were divided. It was then that Nickson took the reins of the club’s radio broadcast and has been there ever since. This year, the hockey world has recognized Nickson for his years of contribution with the sport’s highest honour.
As for the game itself, the Coyotes have struggled as of late. Despite their quick start to the season, they are just 4-6-0 in their last 10, but the Kings should not use this to dismiss their Pacific rivals, even if they have played exponentially better since their last meeting.
Despite having yet to score a goal this season, Martin Hanzal leads Arizona with 12 points. In 34 career games against the Kings, Hanzal has eight goals and 24 points, including two assists on Oct. 9. Rookie Max Domi, who scored against the Kings last month, is right behind with 11 (5G, 6A). Zbynek Michalek, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Tobias Rieder, who had a two-point night, also scored last month in Los Angeles.
One Coyote who hasn’t registered a point against the silver-and-black yet this season is captain Shane Doan. Through 13 games, he has three goals and three assists. Still, the 39-year-old does have a way of getting under the skin of the Kings and even their fans. In fact, his career numbers against Los Angeles do not help matters as Doan has scored 36 goals and 41 assists for 77 points in 102 career games against the silver-and-black. Despite his age, the Kings know that the Arizona captain always needs to be contained.
The biggest star of last month’s Coyotes win at STAPLES Center, though, was netminder Mike Smith who made 40 saves to help his team to victory. Regardless how many — or how few — were quality chances, the Kings know that they will need to be more aggressive around the opposing net should they hope to have better luck against Smith.
The Kings are also hoping to take advantage of a tired bunch as the Desert Dogs are coming off a Monday night game — an overtime win — down the road in Anaheim. We will see if fatigue plays a factor on Tuesday.
Enjoy the game!