Los Angeles Hockey: Shane Doan

Kings: Coyotes stretch lead to 2-0

May, 20, 2012
Western Conference final

Game 4 (Kings lead the series, 3-0)

After the 2nd period:

Phoenix Coyotes 2, Kings 0

The good: Well, at the least the Kings have a comfortable lead in the series. They took their foot off the gas pedal somewhat in the second period, but still managed to out-shoot the Coyotes for the second straight period, owning a 13-9 advantage. Drew Doughty leads the way with five shots on goal and Trevor Lewis has three, plus another that hit the post about three minutes into the period.

The bad: The Kings trail, 2-0, for the first time in the postseason. They’ve allowed two consecutive goals for just the second time in the playoffs as well. The other time was in their 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks in Game 4 of their first-round series. Shane Doan scored his second goal of the game with 8:50 remaining in the period. Antoine Vermette won a faceoff against Mike Richards of the Kings and the puck made its way back to Doan, who shot a one-timer past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. The puck hit the camera inside the goal and shot straight out without lighting the lamp. Quick acted as if he knew the goal was good and so did a handful of Coyotes. Play continued for a few more seconds before the referees had a chance to review the play and they quickly ruled the goal was good. The Kings failed to capitalize on two more power plays in the period, dropping them to 6-for-68 in the postseason. At some point, that futility will jump up and bite them. Today’s looking like that day.

The in between: Not only did the Kings draw iron in the period, but they had two other golden opportunities to score. The first came after Anze Kopitar won a faceoff back to Doughty, whose shot was saved with the right pad of Mike Smith. He was unable to corral the rubber, however, allowing Kopitar to swoop in and poke the puck through his pads. As Smith lay on his back, the puck continued toward the goal line and hit Smith’s glove, giving him an idea where to find it. He rolled over and covered up the puck before the Kings converged. After the Coyotes had taken a two-goal lead, Kopitar stole the puck from Smith behind the net and passed it out front to Dustin Brown while Smith was still out of position. Phoenix left wing Ray Whitney dove into the play and got his stick into Brown’s blade just as he shot, sending the puck fluttering wide.

Kings: Shane Doan scores to give Coyotes 1-0 lead

May, 20, 2012
Western Conference final

Game 4 (Kings lead the series, 3-0)

After the 1st period:

Phoenix Coyotes 1, Kings 0

The good: The Kings generally outplayed the Coyotes in every category but the scoreboard. They kept Phoenix without a shot on goal the first seven minutes and ended up with a 10-5 edge in shots on net. All four lines had their moments during the period, including a solid first shift by the third line of Jarret Stoll, Trevor Lewis and Dwight King. Lewis also nearly scored L.A.’s fifth shorthanded goal of the playoffs, speeding down the left side on a breakaway before Coyotes goalie Mike Smith held his ground and came up with one of his 10 saves in the period. Smith had been tough on the road in the playoffs, recording two shutouts along the way, so the Kings will need to be even more precise with their shots. Seven have been off target so far and two were blocked.

The bad: A phantom goalie interference call on Justin Williams put the Coyotes on the power play for the second time in the game. They cashed this one in for the first time in the series, and the first time since Game 1 of the Nashville series in the previous round. Shane Doan did most the work himself, receiving a pass just outside the right post. The Kings gave him room to operate and he skated above the goal line, then flicked a backhand over the right shoulder of goalie Jonathan Quick with 5:41 remaining in the period. It was just the third shot on goal for Phoenix, and ended a streak of 30 consecutive penalty kills by the Kings. Phoenix left wing Ray Whitney, who received a roughing penalty 75 seconds into the game, recorded an assist on the play for his first point of the series. The Kings trail for just the fifth time in the playoffs. They’ve come back to win the other four. The Kings continue to struggle on the power play in the postseason, going 0-for-2 in the first period.

The in between: Not only has Phoenix center Martin Hanzal returned from his one-game suspension for boarding Kings captain Dustin Brown in Game 2, but the Coyotes welcomed back defenseman Adrian Aucoin, who missed the first four games of this series after suffering an injury in Game 5 of the second round against the Nashville Predators. The additions give the Coyotes some added depth in the front and back, and leave them no more excuses if they lose this game.

Kings active around Phoenix net but no score in first period

May, 17, 2012
Western Conference finals

Game 3 (Kings lead the series, 2-0)

After the 1st period:

Kings 0, Phoenix Coyotes 0

The good: The Kings won the opening faceoff and their top line of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams had a solid first shift. What transpired from there was at least a half a dozen good scoring chances. Trevor Lewis was left alone near the right post and he tried to shove the puck past Phoenix goalie Mike Smith, but was stopped on the doorstep. Jarret Stoll had an excellent chance after Dwight King stopped a clearing pass and fed it to Stoll alone in the slot, but the puck slid off his stick before he could gather it in. A couple minutes later, Mike Richards made a nifty drop pass to a trailing Jeff Carter, who spotted defenseman Slava Voynov coming into the play. He centered the pass to the rookie, but his laser shot went wide. Even low-scoring defenseman Rob Scuderi got a slap shot through traffic and the puck appeared to nick a couple bodies on the way to the net, but again Smith was in place to make the save. Jonathan Quick continues to be masterful in goal for the Kings, stopping 11 shots in the opening period.

The bad: All those scoring chances and nothing to show for it. Obviously, the Coyotes didn’t come to L.A. to get swept. Smith is locked in for this one and the Kings will need to get creative to find a way around him tonight. The Kings were a little sloppy in the neutral zone. They had seven giveaways in the opening 20 minutes and most were near center ice coming out of the defensive zone. They’re also losing the faceoff battle, 12-6, with Richards going 2-5 on the draw. The Kings got an early power play when Phoenix captain Shane Doan continued to display a lack of discipline by backhanding Stoll in the face for a roughing penalty, but the Kings only managed one shot on goal and spent most of the time trying to get the puck back from the Coyotes after Carter failed to secure a pass from Kopitar.

The in between: The Coyotes had a 9-4 advantage in shots on goal at the halfway point of the period, but that edge was trimmed to 11-8. Phoenix dressed their enforcer, Paul Bissonnette, but he was relatively tame in the first period. He took just four shifts. The Kings will likely need to answer to him at some point.

Kings try to chill after physical Game 2 win

May, 16, 2012
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Just a handful of players took the ice for practice Wednesday at Toyota Sports Center, the rest of the Los Angeles Kings were probably bathing in ice after the rough-and-tumble Game 2 victory the night before against the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz.

Just as they'd done the previous two rounds against the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues, the Kings took a two-games-to-none lead in the Western Conference final that now veers to L.A.

The day after the 4-0 victory in Game 2, Kings coach Darryl Sutter was purposely vague when discussing his team’s bumps and bruises, but indicated that everyone who played Tuesday night would be ready for Game 3 on Thursday at Staples Center.

Dustin Brown was likely the sorest of the group.

He was checked head-first into the boards by Phoenix forward Martin Hanzal midway through the third period and laid on the ice for several seconds before skating to the bench. Earlier in the game, he took a stick to the back of the legs from Phoenix goalie Mike Smith, dropping him to the ice in pain.

“It’s almost comical to watch because we think he runs on batteries sometimes,” said Kings left wing Dustin Penner. “You knock him down but you can’t keep him down. He takes a lot of punishment and he gives it out, and he has been that type of leader all year.”

The Kings did a better job of controlling their emotions than they did in their Game 2 victory in the previous series against the Blues. In both games, the Kings built sizable leads, forcing the opposition to take drastic measures.

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Kings set club record with seventh straight road playoff win

May, 15, 2012

Western Conference finals

Game 2

Kings 4, Phoenix Coyotes 0

(Kings lead the series 2-0)

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: If the Los Angeles Kings didn’t have such a fervent fan base waiting for them back home, they might want to play all their postseason games on the road. The Kings won their franchise-record seventh consecutive game away from Staples Center in these playoffs, outplaying the Phoenix Coyotes for the second straight game at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz.

THE STAT: Two players who weren’t even on the Kings during the first four months of the season, who missed out on the December coaching change and most of the frustrating, low-scoring losses, gave L.A. all the points it would need Tuesday night. Jeff Carter broke out of his playoff slump with a hat trick against the Coyotes, and rookie Dwight King notched the other goal, giving him three goals in the first two games of this series. Carter’s hat trick was the first by an L.A. player in the postseason since Wayne Gretzky in 1993.

TURNING POINT: King gave the Kings a 1-0 lead on a deflection off a point shot from defenseman Drew Doughty about 13 minutes into the game, and that held up through the first period. The Coyotes came out with much more intensity in the second, but the Kings killed that momentum when Dustin Penner did some nice work down low to get the puck to Carter, who scored 4:47 into the period for a 2-0 lead. After that goal, you could almost hear the puck drop inside Jobing.com Arena.

HOT: Carter and King, who combined for two goals in the first nine playoff games, have scored six in the past two. Over the long haul, Kings goalie Jonathan Quick might have edged ahead of teammate Dustin Brown as the front-runner for the Conn Smythe Trophy. Quick stopped 24 shots for his second shutout of the postseason. He has allowed 16 goals in 11 playoff games and stopped 309 of 325 shots for a sizzling .951 save percentage. He has allowed more than two goals in a game only once in the playoffs, a Game 4 loss against the Vancouver Canucks in the opening round, L.A.'s only playoff defeat of 2012.

NOT: Coming into the postseason, Phoenix forward Radim Vrbata was hotter than the 108-degree temperature outside the arena, owning five goals in the final five regular-season games to give him a career-high 35. He has been a no-show in the postseason, however, producing two goals in 13 playoff games.

GOOD MOVE: Some of Carter’s best plays of the postseason have come off his skates. Interesting, considering that coming into the playoffs, his foot injury was one of the main storylines. He used his skate to redirect a centering pass to Penner in Game 1 of the Vancouver series, and Penner scored the game winner in the 4-2 victory. His skate was in the right place at the right time Tuesday after Anze Kopitar walked the puck in on a 5-on-3 and took a close-range shot that banked off Carter’s laces and into the net for a 3-0 second-period lead.

BAD MOVE: Two of the best offensive players for the Coyotes, Shane Doan and Martin Hanzal, were ejected from the game for careless boarding penalties, and goalie Mike Smith likely will hear from the league as well after intentionally swinging his stick like a lumberjack and thwacking the back of Brown’s legs as he camped in front of the crease. Even more amazing, Brown was called for diving on the play. He was in so much pain, he could barely skate to the penalty box.

NOTABLE: The Kings have won nine consecutive road playoff games overall, tying the NHL record set by the New York Islanders in 1982-83. ... Kings fourth-line center Colin Fraser did not play because he was tending to a family matter. Kyle Clifford, out since Game 1 of the Vancouver series because of a concussion, replaced him in the lineup but had just 2:29 of ice time, long enough to earn a holding penalty on Doan. ... The Kings have not trailed in the playoffs since midway through first period of Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues. ... The Kings have scored first in eight of 11 playoff games and won the other three. ... The Kings have outscored their opponents 13-5 in the first period of the playoffs. ... The Kings have killed 28 straight penalties and 44 of 47 overall in the playoffs.

UP NEXT: Game 3, Thursday at Staples Center, 6 p.m. PT.

Kings: Breaking down the West final vs. Coyotes

May, 10, 2012

The Kings and Coyotes are scheduled to kick off their Western Conference final Sunday at 5 p.m. PT at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz. Here’s a breakdown of what to watch for as the series unwinds.


KingsCoyotesThrow out what the Kings did against the Coyotes during the regular season. L.A. didn’t have Jeff Carter for any of those six games. Yea, Carter has been a bit of a disappointment in the playoffs so far, scoring just one goal in nine games, but his presence has earned the attention of the opposition, giving other forwards more room to work. Dustin Brown has been his team's most productive player in the playoffs, as well as against the Coyotes this season, accounting for three goals and two assists. The defensemen have also played a big role in the offense, producing four of the 13 goals against Phoenix this season and contributing 10 assists. The main player standing in the way will be Coyotes goalkeeper Mike Smith, who went 3-1-1 against the Kings this season withnine goals against and a .938 save percentage. He’s 8-2-1 in his career against L.A. with a 1.62 GAA and two shutouts. The Coyotes had the league's fifth-lowest GAA during the regular season (2.37). The Kings had the second-lowest goals-for average (2.29), though they averaged three goals a game over the final 21 games and into the playoffs.

The Edge: Kings.


Only four players on the Coyotes scored goals against the Kings this season and one of them, defenseman Raffi Torres, is serving a 25-game suspension for a brutal hit in the opening-round of the playoffs. Radim Vrbata has been the biggest thorn in the side of L.A., scoring five goals and registering two assists. He has been especially good on the road, scoring 21 of his 35 goals away from Jobing.com Arena, tying for seventh in the league in road goals. Shane Doan has picked apart the Kings during his career, scoring 30 goals in 87 games, including two this season. The only other team he has scored 30 goals against is the Dallas Stars. The Kings will counter with goalie Jonathan Quick, who went 3-1-2 against the Coyotes this season with two shutouts, but has otherwise struggled against the Desert Dogs in his career. In 22 starts, the most he has made against any team in the NHL, he’s 10-9-3 with a 2.57 GAA. The Coyotes averaged 2.56 goals a game during the regular season, 18th best in the league. The Kings had the second-lowest GAA at 2.07 a game.

The Edge: Kings.


The Kings were weak on the power play during the regular season and have gotten worse in the playoffs. On the other hand, they had one of the best penalty-kill units during the regular season and have become even stingier during the postseason. The Coyotes have slightly improved on both their power play and penalty kill rates in the playoffs, and were better than the Kings in both categories in their six head-to-head matchups during the regular season.

The Edge: Coyotes.


Among the goalies with at least four playoff appearances this postseason, Quick is No. 1 in goals-against average (1.55) and save percentage (.949), while Smith is third (1.77) and second (.948). The career numbers against the Kings listed above would favor Smith, who is in his first year as a No. 1 goalie, but Quick has been a lot better lately against the Coyotes. Quick has also played a big role in knocking off the top two seeded teams in the Western Conference this postseason, while Smith only had to deal with the sixth-seeded Blackhawks and fourth-seeded Predators.

The Edge: Kings.


Both coaches seem to have squeezed the most out of their players this season. Dave Tippett guided a low-budget, league-owned Phoenix team to its first Pacific Division title in franchise history. Tippett, who replaced Wayne Gretzky as coach shortly before the start of the 2009-10 season and then went on to win the Jack Adams Award that year, has pushed all the right buttons this season, most notably giving Smith a shot to be the No. 1 goalie. Kings coach Darryl Sutter took over in mid-December and gradually put his fingerprints on the team. The Kings have inherited Sutter’s intensity and emotional bond to each game. He’s given players such as Trevor Lewis, Jordan Nolan and Dwight King important roles and they’ve responded with key contributions along the way.

The Edge: Coyotes.


The Coyotes were the third-least penalized team during the regular season, averaging 9.2 penalty minutes per game. They’ve maintained a similar rate in the postseason, meaning the Kings probably won’t see a lot of power-play time in this series. As noted above, L.A. hasn’t done much with their man-advantage situations anyway, but they’ve been great on the penalty kill, wiping out 35 of 38 power plays and scoring four shorthanded goals. Both teams have also made a habit of scoring first in their playoff games. The Coyotes have scored the game’s first goal in seven of their 11 games, winning six. The Kings have scored the first goal in six of their nine games, winning five. Interestingly, the three games in which the Kings trailed first they came back to win.

Prediction: Kings in five.

Kings: Third-round playoff primer

May, 8, 2012


Opponent: Phoenix Coyotes

Regular-season records: Kings, 40-27-15, 95 points (8th in the Western Conference); Coyotes, 42-27-13, 97 points (3rd in the Western Conference)

Playoff schedule: TBA

Previous meetings this season:

Oct. 20 at Jobing.com Arena -- Kings 2, Coyotes 0

Playing in front of an announced crowd of 7,128, about 10,000 fewer than showed up for the Coyotes' series-clinching win Monday night in Phoenix, Jonathan Quick stopped 28 shots for the second of a franchise-record three consecutive shutouts. The win also represented the 100th of his career. Dustin Brown gave the Kings a 1-0 lead with a second-period power-play goal, and Kyle Clifford made it 2-0 later in the period off a centering pass from Kevin Westgarth. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty did not play for the second straight game after injuring his shoulder against the Flyers.

Oct. 29 at Jobing.com Arena -- Coyotes 3, Kings 2 (OT)

Doughty returned from a five-game absence because of the shoulder injury but wasn’t a factor as Daymond Langkow scored with 44 seconds left in overtime after his shot deflected off the stick of now-departed Kings defenseman Jack Johnson. The Kings began overtime with 1:46 remaining on a power play but couldn’t capitalize. Mike Richards had provided the Kings a 1-0 lead early in the second period, and Anze Kopitar tied the score at 2-2 with 6:30 left in regulation, ending a nine-game goal-less streak against the Coyotes, his longest against any team in the NHL.

Dec. 26 at Staples Center -- Kings, 4, Coyotes 3

By the time these teams met again, the Kings had a new coach behind the bench in Darryl Sutter. This game was memorable for a few reasons. The Kings scored more than two goals for the first time in 15 games, Simon Gagne suffered a season-ending concussion and Rob Scuderi scored his only goal of the season four minutes into the game to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. Willie Mitchell and Brad Richardson also scored rare goals for the Kings before Brown notched his ninth of the season, which turned out to be the game winner. Phoenix defenseman Raffi Torres, currently serving a 25-game suspension for an illegal hit in the first round of the playoffs, scored two goals for the Coyotes.

Jan. 5 at Staples Center -- Kings 1, Coyotes 0 (OT)

Quick had another Vezina Trophy-caliber performance, outdueling Phoenix goalie Mike Smith for his sixth shutout of the season. Doughty scored a controversial goal in overtime after banking a shot off the skate of Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson as Johnson stood in the crease. Phoenix coach Dave Tippett and team captain Shane Doan complained vigorously to reporters after the game, saying Johnson had interfered with Smith on Doughty's goal.

Feb. 16 at Staples Center -- Coyotes 1, Kings 0

Tempers flared early as Brown laid out Phoenix defenseman Rostislav Klesla four-and-a-half minutes into the game, leading to a fight with Doan a few minutes later. Klesla ended up missing three weeks with an upper-body injury. Richards later fought Martin Hanzal, and Colin Fraser completed the fight-filled first period by scrapping with Torres. Radim Vrbata ended up scoring the game’s only goal with four minutes left in the second period. Vrbata had five goals against the Kings this season, the most against any team.

Feb. 21 at Jobing.com Arena -- Coyotes 5, Kings 4 (SO)

In perhaps the lowest stretch of the season for the Kings, they let a two-goal second-period lead slip away and lost for the third straight game. After getting shut out in the previous two losses, the Kings figured they were back on track after scoring three unanswered goals in the opening period. Even when the Coyotes cut the deficit to one, the Kings answered with a goal by Justin Williams with just over eight minutes left in the second period. But the Coyotes got one back on a goal by Doan, and Vrbata tied the score with two-and-a-half minutes left in regulation on his team's third power-play goal of the game, giving Phoenix a chance to win in the shootout.

Playoff fact: The Kings and Coyotes, formerly the Winnipeg Jets, have never met in the postseason.

Kings: Feeling the heat in Phoenix

February, 21, 2012
Kings (27-21-11, 65 points) vs. Phoenix Coyotes (29-21-9, 67 points) at Jobing.com Arena, 6 p.m. PT

Five storylines to track:

1. Shuffling the deck – After the Kings were shut out, 1-0, for the second straight game Saturday night, coach Darryl Sutter called out his top line of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams, citing their lack of contributions. He questioned whether he could break the trio up, however, seeing as there weren’t much better options. Well, he came up with a few during practice Monday, dropping Brown back to right wing on the second line with Mike Richards and rookie Dwight King, and moving another rookie, Jordan Nolan, to left wing on the top line.

2. Uncharted territory – In their 44-year franchise history, the Kings have never experienced three consecutive shutout losses. They've been shut out three straight times, way back in the 1968-69 season, but two of those were 0-0 ties. The Coyotes were the team that blanked the Kings on Thursday at Staples Center, and Mike Smith will likely be back in goal for Phoenix. Smith has been red-hot, allowing one goal or less in his last six starts. Interestingly, Smith was in goal during the middle game of three straight shutouts by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick back in October, which was also a first for the franchise.

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Kings: Carrying the torch into Phoenix

October, 20, 2011
Kings (3-1-1, 7 points) vs. Phoenix Coyotes (2-2-1, 5 points) at Jobing.com Arena, 7 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

PhoenixKings1. Soaring Kopitar – They’re running out of descriptions for Kings center Anze Kopitar. With nine points in five games, he’s skating and playing and controlling the game like never before, easily putting to rest any thoughts that there might be some rigidity leftover from ankle surgery on March 30. The best part is, Kopitar doesn’t have to be the best player on the ice for the Kings to win. With the addition of Mike Richards and Simon Gagne and the maturation of several other players, the organization finally has Stanley Cup-quality depth.

2. Rollin’ Williams – It was about this time last season that Kings right wing Justin Williams started his career-high 11-game point streak. He’s always been a strong starter during his NHL career, scoring far more goals in October than any other month of the season, and this fall is shaping up no different. Williams has seven points through five games and, like Kopitar, has scored in every contest. Phoenix is one of the few teams he has had trouble solving over the years, however, owning just three goals and six assists in 22 career games.

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Kings: Still powerless as Phoenix goes up, 2-0

January, 20, 2011
After the 2nd period:

Phoenix Coyotes 2, Kings 0

The good: The Kings have 23 shots on goal, compared to just 10 for Phoenix. Unfortunately, that’s as good as it gets. Lucky for Los Angeles, the crowd at Staples Center is smaller than usual, so the boos aren’t quite as loud as they could be. To be fair, the Kings have had a number of good scoring chances, they just can't get the bounce they desperately need.

The bad: The Kings went scoreless on four more power plays in the second period, running their scoreless streak on the man-advantage to 18 over the last 17 periods. The Coyotes went on their second power play when Justin Williams was called for tripping Kyle Turris with 11:20 remaining in the period and it took them just eight seconds to capitalize. A slap shot from the left face-off circle was deflected into the air and was inches from Matt Greene’s nose when Martin Hanzal batted it into the net. Greene vehemently protested, saying Hanzal’s stick was above the cross-bar and he appeared to be correct, but after a lengthy review the goal stood. Heading into that power play, the Kings had out-shot the Coyotes, 18-6. About a minute later, Michal Handzus took his first shot on goal in three games for the Kings. The puck hit Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in the upper body, trickled over his shoulder, banged off the crossbar and went to the side of the goal. Lee Stempniak retrieved the puck and skated the length of the ice before beating Kings goalie Jonathan Quick for an unassisted goal and a 2-0 lead. Stempniak is becoming the new Kings-killer, taking over for Shane Doan. He has scored four of his 12 goals against Los Angeles this season.

The in between: The Kings picked up the intensity after the second goal from Phoenix, laying some pretty good licks on a few Coyotes. Unfortunately, they need two goals to tie in the third period and they’ve only scored two over the previous eight periods.

Kings: Trying to stay with a pack of Coyotes

January, 20, 2011
Phoenix Coyotes (23-15-9) vs. Kings (24-21-1) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. Staying the course -- Looks like Kings general manager Dean Lombardi is content to stick with coach Terry Murray for the foreseeable future. Lombardi was on NHL Live on SiriusXM Radio following the Kings’ latest loss Tuesday in St. Louis and said “from the management all the way down, you’ve got to stick with it and when you get through it, you’re going to be a lot stronger.” Of course, many coaches have been fired shortly after receiving such a vote of confidence.

2. Another Quick look -- Murray announced at practice Wednesday that was sticking with Jonathan Quick in goal against the Coyotes. The move contradicts what Murray said over the weekend when he decided to play back-up Jonathan Bernier in consecutive games for the first time this season. Murray essentially said the goalie that gets the wins will play the most. Quick is coming off a 2-1 loss in St. Louis in which he let the winning goal skitter through his legs with about 6 minutes left.

3. Brown cooling trend -- After a red-hot month of December in which he had 19 points in 14 games, Dustin Brown has cooled off significantly in January. Brown has just one goal and two assists in nine games this month. He hasn’t been very productive against the Coyotes during his career either, owning eight goals and eights assists in 38 games, with a minus-17 rating. Brown also returned to top line duties last game, so maybe that will get him producing again.

4. Flotsam and Jetsam -- Alexei Ponikarovsky has been like an expensive piece of driftwood lately. The offseason acquisition moved up to the top line after returning from a lower-body injury Jan. 8, then disappointed Murray enough that he was a healthy scratch two games later against St. Louis. Ponikarovsky returned to top line duties in the second game in five days against the Blues. His constant movement screams of the team’s need for a bonafide top line left wing.

5. Doan this before -- Other than secretly tying Shane Doan’s shoelaces together, the Kings need to find a way to stop the veteran Phoenix right wing. Doan has 28 goals and 65 points in 77 career games against Los Angeles. He scored two goals and produced a season-high three points in a 6-3 win against the visiting Kings on Dec. 29, the start of the current slide that has seen the Kings lose 9 of the last 11 games.

Kings: Coyotes run Quick in 6-3 victory

December, 29, 2010
Phoenix Coyotes 6, Kings 3

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: The Kings matched their season-high goals-against total in just 1 periods, earning goalkeeper Jonathan Quick a seat on the bench in favor of back-up Jonathan Bernier.

THE STAT: The six goals allowed also matched a career-high by Quick, who came in with three shutouts in his last six games and a 1.86 goals-against average, second-best in the NHL. The only other time Quick allowed six goals was in a 6-3 loss to the Coyotes in last season’s opener at Staples Center. Quick said earlier this season that he didn’t like playing at Jobing.com Arena because of the sparse crowds and low energy. It showed.

TURNING POINT: Both teams combined for seven goals on just 21 shots in the opening period, with Phoenix taking a 4-3 lead into the second. The next goal would be crucial and that ended up going to the Coyotes. Shane Doan sent a one-timer from the left point and it sailed through traffic and into the net for a 5-3 lead at the 6:11 mark.

HOT: Doan has been a King killer in his 15-year career and that was the case Wednesday night as he tallied two goals, giving him 28 goals and 64 points in 77 career regular-season games against Los Angeles.

NOT: Take your pick. Quick wasn’t as bad as the score would indicate. Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson certainly did not play like a No. 1 pairing, Matt Greene looked slow and Michal Handzus, usually so reliable on the defensive end, was nowhere to be seen. The only rainbow in the storm is the Kings can quickly get back on track with a win Thursday against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.

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Kings: Need to keep the heat in Phoenix

December, 29, 2010
Kings (22-12-1) vs. Phoenix Coyotes (16-12-7) at Jobing.com Arena, 6 p.m. PT

Five storylines to track:

1. Three in a row? – Blew out the Red Wings in Detroit, humbled by St. Louis one game later. Hammered the hot Predators in Nashville, lost the next day in Chicago. Overwhelmed the streaking Avalanche in Colorado, won a shootout against last place Edmonton two days later. At last, the Kings have strung together two excellent performances against good teams, beating the Ducks, 4-1, on Sunday and winning 24 hours later in San Jose, 4-0. The Coyotes seem ripe for a beating, but will the Kings play down to their level?

2. White-hot Brown – Nobody ever questioned Dustin Brown’s toughness. He was second in the NHL last season with 287 hits, and has never shied away from a good scrum. But there have been countless message board debates regarding his qualifications as a top line winger. Many argued he didn’t have the offensive skills to fit that role. Now that he has piled up 19 points in the last 12 games, it’s amazing how far those threads have fallen.

3. Who’s in goal? Who cares? – Thanks to the recent strong play of back-up goalie Jonathan Bernier, coupled with the continued excellence of Jonathan Quick, Kings fans aren’t wearing out the refresh key wondering who's startin goal heading into another back-to-back set. Quick would be the smart bet since Phoenix is a Pacific Division foe and Thursday’s opponent, the visiting Philadelphia Flyers, hail from the East, but Quick said earlier this season that Phoenix was his least favorite place to play due to the small crowds.

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Kings: Bringing the heat to Phoenix

October, 21, 2010
Kings (4-1-0) vs. Phoenix Coyotes (1-2-1) at Jobing.com Arena, 7 p.m. (PST)

Five storylines to track:

1. Doughty injury - Kings defenseman Drew Doughty left the 4-3 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night with an upper-body injury and wasn’t seen again. Kings coach Terry Murray said Doughty would not accompany the team to Phoenix, but didn’t rule out a return later in the five-game trip. Murray said the injury occurred on a late hit by Erik Cole in the neutral zone. Here’s a replay of the hit, as well as some verbal pokes at Cole from the folks at NHL network.

2. Greene cleared – Not long after Doughty was knocked from the game, it was announced that veteran defenseman Matt Greene had been "medically cleared to resume full hockey activities." Greene, 27, had offseason surgery on his left shoulder. He's not the offensive threat that Doughty is, but ranked third among NHL defensemen with 238 hits last season and recorded at least one blocked shot in 55 of his 75 games. He led the Kings with 126.

3. Simmonds returning to form – After a very bland start to the season, third-liner Wayne Simmonds is beginning to show signs of the player that scored 40 points in his sophomore year in the NHL last season. He took just one shot on goal against Carolina, but it was deflected into the net by Michal Handzus, tying the score in the final seconds of the first period. "Simmonds was very good," Murray said after the game.

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