The Arizona Coyotes are back home on Friday night following a disappointing showing in Anaheim against the Ducks. They were outplayed by the lowly Ducks, who ultimately ran away from them for a 4-2 win. The Ducks are not a playoff team, though they certainly looked like a team with playoff aspirations on Wednesday night. However, the team with playoff aspirations was on the other side last night.
The Coyotes are contenders in a tight Pacific Division, as they enter Thursday with a record of 26-21-5 and 57 points. Calgary downed Edmonton in a shootout last night, so they both put some separation between themselves and the Coyotes. Along with the Flames picking up 2 points and the Oilers a point, the Canucks came back in the third period against the Sharks in San Jose to win 4-2 and build on their lead.
The Canucks are up on the Flames by 2 points in the Pacific, with a record of 29-18-4 and 62 points. While Arizona are 4th in the division, they’re only 5 points behind for the top spot. That said, the Coyotes are a critical moment in the season. The next few weeks has the potential to change the course of their season. Losing against inferior opponents like the Ducks isn’t going to help them out in anyway.
Arizona will have another opportunity against an inferior team this evening. The Kings were in action last night as well, falling by the same score of 4-2. Their loss was a little more understandable with the Lightning at the Staples Center. They competed hard and had a lead on the Kings going into the first intermission. However, like most bad teams do, they coughed the lead up and left the ice with no points to speak of.
LA are sitting well back in the Pacific, having registered a record of 18-28-5 and 41 points. All they can hope for is some luck in the draft lottery, but the odds point to the Red Wings winning the Alexis Lafreniere sweepstakes. The Kings will be looking to end a five-game losing streak in the desert tonight. They are also losers in eight of their previous nine contests. The Yotes have been skidding as well, with loses in three straight and in six of their previous seven games. Head below for our free Kings vs. Coyotes pick.
L.A. Kings vs. Arizona Coyotes Betting Odds:
Kings vs. Coyotes Prediction:
The Coyotes have been suffering with Antti Raanta manning the crease since the Darcy Kuemper injury. Kuemper isn’t ready yet to make a return, so the Coyotes will continue to go with Raanta as the No. 1 option. Is that the smart move, though? No. 3 netminder Adin Hill will be called on against the Kings tonight, and if he continues to play well, the Coyotes may want to consider going with Hill as the No. 2 behind Kuemper. After shoddy work from Raanta last night, his GAA has rode all the way up to 2.94 on the season.
Hill has made nine appearances and he’s been the better option on paper. He enters Thursday with a solid 2.40 GAA and 0.92 save percentage.There have been plenty of issues in the defensive zone for the Coyotes since Kuemper went down a little over a month ago. Part of that has been because of Raanta regressing considerably. They’re really going to need to get a healthy Kuemper back, or hope Hill can be a saviour for the Coyotes.
The Kings are an offence that any goaltender on the Coyotes’ roster should be able to navigate, though. LA are 29th in the NHL with 2.49 goals scored per game. That number falls to 2.32 goals per game on the road. Their defence also suffers when going from the Staples Center to the road, with 3.43 goals against as opposed to an overall average of 3.14 goals allowed per game in 2019-20.
Jack Campbell is expected in net for the Kings this evening. Jonathan Quick took the loss at home last night, so Campbell, the No. 2 option for the Kings will get the nod. Campbell enters Arizona with a 2.89 GAA and 0.899 save percentage this season. Neither goaltender has been special for the Kings, but Campbell is a sufficient backup. He has posted a 3.00 GAA and 0.894 save percentage, so a slight dip in production.
The numbers certainly add up for the Kings on the road this season. They are just 7-17-4 on the season, and the only team in the Western Conference without 8 wins on the road. Drew Doughty did not play last night, and is not expected to be back in the lineup tonight. That hurts a defence that has yielded 3.2 goals per game in their last ten outings, while scoring just 2.3 goals per game during that stretch. With teams coming off a loss last night, expect the Coyotes to be the team to bounce back in this one.