Coyotes begin homestand vs. Kings

( – The Arizona Coyotes hope that an upcoming homestand can
get them on track and they’ll begin the residency on Thursday night against
the Los Angeles Kings.

The Coyotes are just 2-4-2 in their past eight games and are coming off
Tuesday’s 5-2 road loss to the Calgary Flames. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Sam
Gagner had the goals, while Mike Smith yielded four tallies on 23 shots in

Arizona was coming off a victory in Edmonton, but fell to 6-8-1 on the road.
The Coyotes haven’t been much better at home, going 4-5-2.

“We seem to be caught in this rut where we’re winning one and losing one,”
said Gagner. “We have to find a way to string some wins together.”

The Coyotes may open this five-game homestand without defenseman Connor
Murphy, who sat out on Tuesday due to an upper-body injury.

If there is one team that may help Arizona get on track at home, it is Los
Angeles. The Kings are an outstanding 11-3-1 in their own building, but have
gone just 2-4-4 on the road this season.

Six of the Kings’ next seven games are away from Los Angeles and they are
coming off a 2-0 victory over the visiting Boston Bruins on Tuesday. Jonathan
Quick stopped all 31 shots fired his way to post his third shutout of the

Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli scored and Anze Kopitar supplied two assists
for the Kings, who bounced back from a tough 4-1 loss to Chicago on Saturday
and had lost three of four.

“We got two points against a great hockey team. We definitely have areas we
can continue to be better at, but it was definitely a step better than the
other night,” Quick said following his 34th career shutout.

The Kings took care of some business on Wednesday by signing defenseman and
Stanley Cup hero Alec Martinez to a six-year contract extension.

Martinez was credited with the overtime goal in Game 7 of the Western
Conference Finals in Chicago and then scored the double-overtime Stanley Cup-
winning goal on home ice against the New York Rangers two weeks later. He has
totaled two goals and seven points in 18 games this year, having recently
returned from a finger injury.

However, forward Marian Gaborik is expected to miss a third game in a row for
the Kings tonight with an upper-body injury.

The Kings have lost five of their last seven versus the Coyotes, including a
3-2 overtime setback in Arizona on Oct. 11. Ekman-Larsson had the winner with
14 seconds left in extra time, scoring a power-play goal past a screened

Los Angeles has lost five straight and seven of its past eight as the road
team in this series.