For those whose focus is actually on hockey games — it’s an odd concept, I admit — tonight’s game is a huge one. The Kings are in seventh place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of eighth-place Phoenix, and the teams meet tonight at Staples Center. The Kings are 3-0-1 against the Coyotes this season, but three of the four have been one-goal games and in three games against goalie Mike Smith, the Kings have yet to score more than two goals (they won 2-0, 1-0 in overtime and lost 3-2 in overtime). Also, the Coyotes are hot. They are 5-0-1 in their last six games and haven’t allowed more than one regulation goal in their last five games. The Coyotes have been beating the teams ahead of them, and close to them, in the standings, and climbing.
SUTTER: “We’re playing against a good hockey team that’s right there with us in the standings. There’s a lot of good inner games there: Mike Smith vs. Quick, Hanzal vs. Kopitar. That’s why the times are so close. I’ve been here for two games (against Phoenix) and one is 1-0 game and one is a (one-goal) game. So you know what kind of games they are.’’