The Coyotes aren’t mathematically eliminated from the postseason yet but their playoff hopes are on life support after losing at home to the Kings on Monday. Arizona will need to win its final three regular-season games and have St Louis stumbled to the finish line with six consecutive losses. Arizona has compiled a 22-25-6 overall record with 50 points through 53 games. Meanwhile, the Kings have been finishing the season strong with three wins over their last five games. Los Angeles owns a 20-24-6 record with 46 points in 50 contests.
Can the Kings end Arizona’s season in disappointing fashion with another win on the road on Tuesday night?
Kings can play the role of spoiler again on WednesdayThe Kings continued to close the season strong on Monday with a 3-2 win on the road against the Coyotes. Anze Kopitar and Alex Iafallo scored third-period goals while Trevor Moore also scored for the Kings in the win. Kopitar also added an assist on the night, giving up 999 career points. Jonathan Quick allowed just two goals on 19 shots but left in the second period with an upper-body injury. Cavin Petersen stopped 15 shots in relief and helped the Kings withstand a late flurry to earn the win.
Head coach Todd McLellan shook up his lines ahead of Monday’s win, moving center Adrian Kempe to play with Kopitar and Dustin Brown. The move turned out to pay immediate dividends, as Kempe had an assist on Kopitar’s goal, played a strong defensive game, and nearly scored when his shot hit the post in the third period. The 24-year-old hasn’t taken the leap forward that most people expected this season, compiling just 14 goals and 29 points in 50 games.
Petersen is scheduled to be back between the pipes for Los Angeles in Wednesday’s rematch against Arizona. He comes in with an 8-15-4 overall record despite a respectable 2.83 GAA and .914 save percentage in 30 games (27 starts) this season. The 26-year-old was having a dismal finish to the regular season prior to Monday’s win. He comes in with just two wins over his last 11 games (10 starts) and he’s allowed at least three goals eight times during that span. He’s also had his fair share of struggles against the Coyotes, going 1-2-0 with a 3.05 GAA and .909 save percentage in four games.
Kuemper, Coyotes stumbling to the finish lineArizona put a major dent into its postseason hopes with an ugly 3-2 loss against the Kings on Monday night. Christian Dvorak and Jakob Chychrun scored goals for the Coyotes, who outshot Los Angeles 34 to 26 on the night. Darcy Kuemper stopped 23 of 26 shots for the Coyotes en route to his fourth consecutive loss.
The Coyotes also got some bad news before the game, as center Nick Schmaltz was a late scratch after being injured during warmups. Schmaltz was hit in the head with a puck that hit the crossbar and went down to the ice and double over in pain before being helped to the locker room. The 25-year-old and former first-round pick has been one of Arizona’s best playmakers this season with 10 goals and 32 points, which ranks fourth on the team.
Kuemper is scheduled to patrol the crease for the Coyotes once again on Wednesday night. He comes in with a 9-11-3 overall record to go along with a 2.58 GAA and .906 save percentage in what has been an injury-riddled season. Kuemper has made just 26 starts and has never been able to get into a groove since suffering a lower-body injury. The 30-year-old has also struggled over his last four starts, going 0-3-1 with a .871 save percentage during that span. Kuemper will look to turn things around against a Kings team that he’s performed well against this season. He has posted a 1.99 GAA and .923 save percentage in four starts but has come away with a disappointing 1-2-1 record in those matchups.
- Kings are 23-47 in their last 70 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Kings are 28-57 in their last 85 games playing on one day's rest.
- Kings are 24-50 in their last 74 road games.
- Coyotes are 5-17 in their last 22 games playing on one day’s rest.
- Coyotes are 1-4 in their last 5 overall.
- Coyotes are 1-4 in their last 5 when their opponent allows 2 goals or less in their previous game.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
There’s simply too much pressure on the Coyotes here. Arizona has been stumbling to the finish line and it looks like the slide won’t end until the Coyotes are mathematically eliminated from the postseason. The Coyotes need to win their final three regular-season games to have any chance at the playoffs and those hopes were all but dashed in Monday’s third-period meltdown against the Kings. With Arizona’s back against the wall, I’ll take the team with nothing to lose here. Take Los Angeles to come out on top on the road for the second straight game on Wednesday night.
Full-Game Total Pick
After combining for only five goals in Monday’s meeting, the total is set at a modest 5.5 for Wednesday’s matchup. The Coyotes offense has gone into a lull as of late, scoring three goals or fewer in each of their last four contests. The absence of Schmaltz will also hurt Arizona’s offensive output, which bodes well for another low-scoring game here. The Kings offense hasn’t exactly been firing on all cylinders either, scoring just seven combined goals over its last four contests. Take this game to go under the projected total at the SAP Center on Wednesday night.