LA Kings: Three things to watch in Coyotes series finale

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports) /

Three things to watch as the LA Kings wrap up their season series with the Arizona Coyotes.

While the LA Kings will not be playing in the postseason, they have another chance to essentially knock the Coyotes out of playoff contention on Wednesday night. Arizona is five points back of the St. Louis Blues for the final playoff spot in the West Division.

The Kings currently lead the season series 4-3 and have a chance to take 5-of-8 games against the Coyotes. Here are three things to watch and some other odds and ends to get you ready for tonight’s game.

1. Can the LA Kings play a complete 60 minutes

Sean Walker noted the Kings needed to play a complete 60 minutes after Monday’s morning skate. Los Angeles came out on fire in the first period, leading the way with a 14-6 shots on goal advantage. But despite the comeback victory, the Kings’ second and third periods left a lot to be desired.

According to Natural Stat Trick, here were the expected-goals-for percentages by period for the LA Kings in 5-on-5 play.

  • 1st: 71.6%
  • 2nd: 22.0%
  • 3rd: 33.8%

Of course, the Kings had a penalty carryover from the first period, in which the Coyotes scored 53 seconds into the middle frame. Not long after that, Arizona went right back to the powerplay, so it was challenging for the Kings to get anything going offensively in the early stages of the second period.

However, they are probably fortunate they came away with the victory, given the Coyotes had four high-danger chances to the Kings’ one in the final period. Again, the Kings aren’t playing for a postseason spot, but everyone on the roster is being evaluated by the coaching staff and the players themselves for a roster spot next season.

These last six games are critical in that regard.

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2. Cal Petersen’s recent struggles

With Todd McLellan indicating that Jonathan Quick will not dress for Wednesday’s finale against Arizona, Cal Petersen is the presumed starter, with Troy Grosenick being the backup. The former replaced Quick during the second intermission, stopping all 15 shots he faced, but he has struggled in the home stretch of this season.

Over his last ten games, the 26-year-old netminder has a .888 SV% and a 3.40 GAA. In the previous 19 starts, Petersen had a 2.47 GAA and a .925 SV% and was consistently ranked among the top ten in several high-end analytical categories. Whether fatigue is setting in the latter stretch of the schedule, I’m not sure, but Petersen needs to finish the year on a high note.

Especially with Jonathan Quick likely being left exposed for Seattle’s expansion draft.

3. Anze Kopitar’s milestone

Of course, the most obvious item to watch on Wednesday is Anze Kopitar potentially achieving 1,000 career points. The LA Kings captain tallied two points on Monday, moving him within one of the historic milestone. I’m sure the Kings will try to do everything in their power to get Kopitar there, whether it be tonight or the remaining five games after.

Question for you readers, would you rather have the milestone come on a game-winning assist or a first-period goal?

Kings vs. Coyotes – Tale of the Tape


Kings: 20.1% (17th)

Coyotes: 20.0% (18th)


Kings: 84.3% (4th)

Coyotes: 80.1% (14th)


Kings: 51.1% (11th)

Coyotes: 48.9% (23rd)

Goals Per Game

Kings: 2.64 (23rd)

Coyotes: 2.60 (26th)

Goals Against Per Game

Kings: 2.96 (13th)

Coyotes: 3.09 (10th)

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Top Scorer

Kings: Anze Kopitar – 13 goals, 36 assists, 49 points

Coyotes: Nick Schmaltz – 11 goals, 34 assists, 45 points

Puck drop is set for 7 pm CT.