Phoenix Coyotes (23-15-9) vs. Kings (24-21-1) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.
Five storylines to track:
1. Staying the course -- Looks like Kings general manager Dean Lombardi is content to stick with coach Terry Murray for the foreseeable future. Lombardi was on NHL Live on SiriusXM Radio following the Kings’ latest loss Tuesday in St. Louis and said “from the management all the way down, you’ve got to stick with it and when you get through it, you’re going to be a lot stronger.” Of course, many coaches have been fired shortly after receiving such a vote of confidence.
2. Another Quick look -- Murray announced at practice Wednesday that was sticking with Jonathan Quick in goal against the Coyotes. The move contradicts what Murray said over the weekend when he decided to play back-up Jonathan Bernier in consecutive games for the first time this season. Murray essentially said the goalie that gets the wins will play the most. Quick is coming off a 2-1 loss in St. Louis in which he let the winning goal skitter through his legs with about 6 ½ minutes left.
3. Brown cooling trend -- After a red-hot month of December in which he had 19 points in 14 games, Dustin Brown has cooled off significantly in January. Brown has just one goal and two assists in nine games this month. He hasn’t been very productive against the Coyotes during his career either, owning eight goals and eights assists in 38 games, with a minus-17 rating. Brown also returned to top line duties last game, so maybe that will get him producing again.
4. Flotsam and Jetsam -- Alexei Ponikarovsky has been like an expensive piece of driftwood lately. The offseason acquisition moved up to the top line after returning from a lower-body injury Jan. 8, then disappointed Murray enough that he was a healthy scratch two games later against St. Louis. Ponikarovsky returned to top line duties in the second game in five days against the Blues. His constant movement screams of the team’s need for a bonafide top line left wing.
5. Doan this before -- Other than secretly tying Shane Doan’s shoelaces together, the Kings need to find a way to stop the veteran Phoenix right wing. Doan has 28 goals and 65 points in 77 career games against Los Angeles. He scored two goals and produced a season-high three points in a 6-3 win against the visiting Kings on Dec. 29, the start of the current slide that has seen the Kings lose 9 of the last 11 games.