(Sports Network) - The Kings felt a big call went against them in their opener of a home-and-home set with the Coyotes on Thursday, but they should be more concerned with a continued lack of offense. Struggling Los Angeles hopes to avoid a sixth straight loss to division-rival Phoenix when the clubs meet again this evening at Jobing.com Arena. The Kings have been held to a pair of goals or less in seven of their last 10 games and skated to a deadlock in the first period of Thursday's game versus the Coyotes. Knowing offense might be scarce, Los Angeles was displeased when video replay did not overturn the game's first goal, a tally by Phoenix's Martin Hanzal at the 8:48 mark of the second period that the Kings felt was hit in by a high-stick.
However, the goal stood and the Coyotes' Lee Stempniak scored just 57 seconds later. That was all goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov would need as he made 36 saves in a 2-0 shutout, his third of the season and 19th of his career. He is 14-4-2 with a 2.30 goals-against average lifetime versus the Kings. "He was very strong, we kept a lot of pucks to the outside," Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett said of his netminder. "Not a lot of rebounds, and I thought we did a pretty good job around the net. He made the stops he had to make."
The Kings were not happy with the loss, which came despite allowing a season- low 15 shots. Jonathan Quick came up with 13 saves as Los Angeles lost its third straight game and for the 10th time in its last 12 contests. "Obviously, the confidence is not the highest but it is what it is," said Kings forward Anze Kopitar, who has just one goal in his past 13 games. "You go through stretches like this in the season and you have to find a way to get out of them. We found a way to get out of one earlier and we're going to find a way to get out of this one."
Ryan Smyth, Justin Williams and Dustin Brown, who are all tied for the club lead with 17 goals, join Kopitar in his struggles. Brown has just one goal in his last 12 games, Williams two in his past 10 and Smyth has gone six straight without lighting the lamp. Los Angeles, which is five points out of a playoff spot, has been outscored, 12-5, in losing all three meetings with Phoenix this year. Quick, meanwhile, has a 4.47 GAA this year versus the Coyotes and has been in net for each game during the current five-game series losing streak.
Phoenix has won its last three at home versus Los Angeles as well as 11 of the last 15 meetings in the desert. Thursday's win snapped a two-game losing streak and was the club's seventh victory in its last 10 games overall. Ray Whitney had an assist on Hanzal's goal to give him a pair of goals and five helpers in his last six games, while Keith Yandle has a goal and seven assists on a six-game point streak. Blueliner Ed Jovanovski (lower body) has missed the last four games for the Coyotes, who are fifth overall in the West and six points back of first-place Dallas in the Pacific Division.
For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Jewels From The Crown.