The NHL has a busy night set up on Tuesday night. Ten games are on the schedule for December 4. To end the night, the Arizona Coyotes will visit the Los Angeles Kings. The Coyotes have not been off to a bad start, but it could be better. As for Los Angeles, they could not be doing much worse. These two teams will square off at 10:30 PM Eastern.
The Coyotes have started the season out with a record of 12-11-2, which has earned them the sixth spot in the Pacific Division. Arizona has been a very streaky team this season, bouncing in and out of winning and losing streaks. The Coyotes have won three games in a row. Before that they had lost eight of their last ten games. Arizona will look to keep this winning streak going with a win in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
The Kings have stumbled since the puck dropped in early October. Los Angeles has gone 10-16-1, which has them tied with the St. Louis Blues for the worst point total in the NHL this season. The Kings won their last game, shutting out the Carolina Hurricanes at home. Los Angeles is in the second game of a four-game home stand and will look to impress their fans with back to back wins.
Tuesday night’s matchup will be the first meeting this season between Arizona and Los Angeles. These Pacific Division rivals will meet three more times on December 27, March 9 and April 2. I expect both teams to look to control the pace early on Tuesday to try and get the leg up in the season series.
Last Season’s Matchups
The Coyotes and the Kings met up four times last season as well. The first matchup of the season between these two teams was hosted by Arizona. The game needed extra time to be decided. Christian Fischer had the game-winning goal in overtime and another assist to help give the Coyotes the 3-2 win. Scott Wedgewood turned away 23 shots in Arizona’s win.
The second game of the season series was hosted by the Kings and was nowhere near as close. Jake Muzzin had a three-point night, while Dustin Brown, Alex Iafallo, Adrian Kempe and Anze Kopitar all scored a goal and added an assist. Darcy Kuemper had a 27 shot shutout in route to a 6-0 win.
Arizona hosted the third matchup of the season series. Jeff Carter had a two-goal night for Los Angeles, but it would not be enough in the end. Nick Cousins had a goal and an assist. Alex Goligoski scored the game-winning goal in the shootout to give Arizona a 4-3 win.
The final game of the season was in Los Angeles. Max Domi had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes. Jeff Carter had a hat trick for the Kings. Drew Doughty and Tyler Toffoli each had two assists to help propel Los Angeles to the win. The Kings finished out the season series with a 4-2 win.
Each team won both games at home last season, which led to a 2-2 series tie. Neither team made the playoffs last season, but the Coyotes finished lower in the standings. I expect these two teams to play another close matchup to start out this season’s series.
The Coyotes have not been great on the power play this season. Arizona is scoring at a rate of 15.5 percent on the power play. The Coyotes penalty kill, on the other hand, has been really solid. Arizona has stopped their opponent’s on about 90 percent of their power play chances.
Los Angeles’ power play has been operating at a rate of about 14.5 percent, which is terrible. The Kings have not had much more success on the penalty kill. Los Angeles’ penalty kill has been stopping team’s 73.75 percent of the time. The Coyotes power play is not great, but it may be able to find success against the Kings weak penalty kill.
I believe Antti Raanta will likely be back and start on Tuesday night. Raanta has posted a save percentage of .906 and a 2.88 GAA. He has gone 5-6 in his starts this season. Raanta can do better, and I believe he will need to if Arizona is to pull off the win on Tuesday.
Jonathan Quick will likely get the start against the Coyotes. Quick has gone 1-4-1 in his six starts this season. He has posted a .888 save percentage and a GAA of 3.49 in those starts. Quick had a shutout against the Hurricanes in his last outing and he will need another solid performance against Arizona.
These two teams have both had their struggles throughout this season. Arizona is coming into Tuesday night’s game on a pretty solid winning streak. The Kings have some hope after Quick’s strong return to the lineup against Carolina. The Coyotes have had a much better penalty kill and have an edge up on the power play as well. I believe that this will lead to Arizona continuing their winning streak.
BetOnline has Los Angeles listed as a -118 against the money line. This implies the Kings win this game around 54 percent of the time. I believe that at best this game should be a fifty-fifty split. Arizona has been the better team both on the season and as of recently, which is why I believe they should be favored. Although they are on the road, I believe there is a lot of value in betting on them as an underdog.