Looking at the regular-season numbers, there’s not much space between the Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes. They finished two points apart in the standings. In terms of total goals scored, for and against, the Kings were plus-15 while the Coyotes were plus-12. Both teams had 27 regulation losses. The Coyotes totaled 50 points at home while the Kings totaled 49. The Coyotes totaled 47 points on the road while the Kings totaled 46. And, most importantly at this point, both teams have won eight playoff games. That’s one thing that will change soon.
The Kings and Coyotes haven’t played each other since Feb. 21, an oddity given that division rivals usually face each other at least once in the latter part of the season. Clearly, though, they’re no strangers. Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown and Colin Fraser talked about the similarities between the two teams.
DOUGHTY: “I think it’s the same kind of thing. We both want to work hard. We both want to do everything right for each other. We’re huge on forecheck and we’re both really good defensive teams, and that’s why it’s going to be a battle. We’ve got to win every single battle on every area of the ice.”
Reminded that three of the regular-season games went into overtime, and that he scored the winner in one of those games, Doughty said, “Yeah, I think I did. I can’t remember now. It’s going to be a tough one for us. They’re a close team, very similar to us. Both teams have great goaltending, great defense and great forwards. So, I think the matchup is due to have a hard-fought series and a lot of rough stuff.”
BROWN: “They’re really well-coached. They play their system really well. When you think of the Coyotes, you think of their goaltending, and they get really timely scoring from their big guys. They’ve very opportunistic on the offensive side of things. They don’t give up a whole lot defensively. The one thing that I’m sure is going to be evident is, they’re a hard-working team. That’s something you can’t really teach. You either have that or you don’t have it.”
FRASER: “Their goalie has been really unbelievable all year, as well as Quickie. They made it to the Western Conference Finals for a reason. They obviously won our division. We were pretty evenly matched against them all season long, head to head. It’s very close. They’re all tough series. Every team is good, and Phoenix is showing that they are really good.”