March 19, 2013 3:01 pm

Game 29 Preview: Phoenix at Los Angeles

Projected Starting Goaltender, Los Angeles – Jonathan Bernier
Season: 9 GP (7 GS) / 6-2-0 record / 1.94 GAA / .916 Sv% / 0 SHO
Career vs Phoenix: 2 (1) / 1-0-0 / 0.00 / 1.00 / 1
Last Game vs Phoenix: 3/3/11 / 60 MP / 25-25 shots / 1-0 W
2012-13, Home: 5 (5) / 4-0-0 / 1.84 / .916 / 0

Projected Starting Goaltender, Phoenix – Mike Smith
Season: 24 (24) / 11-9-3 / 2.86 / .900 / 4
Career vs Los Angeles: 13 (13) / 9-3-1 / 1.86 / .933 / 2
Last Game vs Los Angeles: 3/18/13 / 47 MP / 18-22 shots / 0-4 L
2012-13, Away: 11 (11) / 3-5-3 / 2.51 / .916 / 2

Leaders, Los Angeles
Total Points: Anze Kopitar (9-18=27)
Goals: Jeff Carter (18-3=21)
Assists: Anze Kopitar (9-18=27)
Plus/Minus: Jake Muzzin (+13; 6-6=12)
Penalty Minutes: Keaton Ellerby (50*; 0-2=2)
*36 of Ellerby’s penalty minutes came as a member of the Florida Panthers.

Leaders, Phoenix
Total Points: Mikkel Boedker (6-12=18)
Goals: Shane Doan (9-17=16)
Assists: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (3-14=17)
Plus/Minus: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (+7; 3-14=17)
Penalty Minutes: Kyle Chipchura (43; 4-6=10)

A stick tap goes to: Steve Sullivan. The five-foot-nine winger has averaged three-quarters of a point per game through his NHL career, which began in 1995-96. Tonight will mark his 996th career game; he’s on pace to log his 1,000th game against the Predators next Thursday in Nashville, a city where he spent five and a half seasons.

A fist shake goes to: Phoenix’s stalled offense. The Coyotes are goalless since Rob Klinkhammer’s third period goal against the Kings one week ago. They’ve been shut out by St. Louis (3-0), Columbus (1-0; SO) and Los Angeles (4-0) in the three games since.

Why the Kings need to win this game: 11 of the Coyotes’ 19 remaining games are on the road, and the Kings won’t want to let a playoff precipice team off the hook at home, where they’re 11-2-1. Los Angeles needs to take advantage of the remaining games of this home stand before heading out on a challenging trip to Chicago, St. Louis, Minnesota Dallas and Phoenix with a Washington, D.C. White House trip wedged in. Get points.

Rankings and Statistics
Goals/Game: LAK – 6 / 3.00; PHX – 19 / 2.55
Goals Against/Game: LAK – 9 / 2.50; PHX – 10 / 2.72
Power Play: LAK – 9 / 20.4%; PHX – 23 / 15.1%
Penalty Kill: LAK – t-16 / 80.4%; PHX – 12 / 82.5%
Shots/Game: LAK – 16 / 28.9; PHX – 7 / 30.3
Shots Against/Game: LAK – 2 / 24.4; PHX – 14 / 28.5
Faceoffs: LAK – t-13 / 50.9%; PHX – 4 / 52.9%
Save Percentage: LAK – 24 / .898; PHX – t-18 / .904

Projected Lines – Los Angeles

Dustin Brown – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Mike Richards – Jeff Carter – Tyler Toffoli
Dwight King – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Kyle Clifford – Colin Fraser – Dustin Penner

Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi – Slava Voynov
Keaton Ellerby – Alec Martinez

Jonathan Bernier
Jonathan Quick

Notes: The Kings have won 10 of their last 11 home games. Los Angeles has played in 22 consecutive games without heading to overtime, the longest non-OT stretch since finishing 22 consecutive games in regulation time between January 27 and March 14, 2003. Equipment Manager Darren Granger is working his 1,500th career game tonight. As always, line projections are educated assessments and not definite alignments.

Projected Lines – Phoenix

Mikkel Boedker – Martin Hanzal – Radim Vrbata
Steve Sullivan – Antoine Vermette – Shane Doan
Kyle Chipchura – Boyd Gordon – Lauri Korpikoski
Raffi Torres – Matthew Lombardi – David Moss

Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Rostislav Klesla
Keith Yandle – Derek Morris
David Schlemko – Michael Stone

Mike Smith
Jason LaBarbera

Notes: Per this tweet by Craig Morgan of FOX Sports Arizona, Radim Vrbata may go for Phoenix tonight after missing 14 games with a fractured foot. The Coyotes were 6-6-2 in his absence. Should he be able to play, I would expect him at his customary spot as Martin Hanzal’s right wing. If this is the case, I would expect Lauri Korpikoski to slot alongside Kyle Chipchura and Boyd Gordon, while David Moss would join Raffi Torres and Matthew Lombardi in place of Paul Bissonnette. It could also be possible that Steve Sullivan and Mikkel Boedker would change places in such a scenario. As always, line projections are educated assessments and not definite alignments.

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