May 13, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Phoenix Coyotes right wing Shane Doan (19) is checked by Los Angeles Kings defenseman Matt Greene (2) and center Mike Richards (10) during the third period of game one of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Kings @ Phoenix Coyotes Preview

Previewing the Los Angeles Kings’ 2012-13 season:
Game 4 @ Phoenix, January 26, 2013, 5pm PST (8pm EST)

Fans from both sides have been waiting for this matchup for eight months. That was the last time the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotesmet and it was when the Kings clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Final – but not before controversy. Just one play before Dustin Penner’s goal won Los Angeles the series, Kings’ captain Dustin Brown delivered a knee-on-knee hit with Michal Rozsival and the referees did not call a penalty leaving the Coyotes and the fans at Arena outraged. While Rozsival has since moved on to Chicago, there is still no love lost between the two Pacific rivals.

Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Looking to rebound from their heartbreaking loss in Edmonton on Thursday, the Kings hope a return to the desert is just what they need. At 0-for-19, they have the league’s worst power play and having scored just four goals in their first three games, their overall offense isn’t anything to write home about either. So far, the Coyotes are 1-3-0 and with their netminder Mike Smith sidelined, they will turn to former King Jason Labarbera.

In six meetings last season, Los Angeles had the upper hand over Phoenix going 3-1-2 against their rivals. But it was the playoffs that most remember of this rivalry. The Kings eliminated the Coyotes in five games in last spring’s Western Final but while their roster hasn’t really changed, that was a Kings team who found their scoring groove. This time around, it hasn’t been quite as easy for the silver-and-black.

While Kyle Clifford is leading the way with two goals and two assists for the Kings, others need to step up including Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and the aforementioned Dustin Brown.

Despite the end result in Edmonton, there was a lot of promise shown from the Kings. Their depleted defense was on par and Jonathan Quick looked like the Quick we’re used to seeing stopping 37 shots and holding a shutout for most of the game.

While their defense needs to keep playing a high level, it is time for the offense to step up and King fans to get excited when their team goes on the man-advantage.

This is the first of five meetings this season between the Kings and Coyotes and it promising to be an exciting matchup. The action starts at 5pm PST (8pm EST).

Enjoy the game!

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