NHL: Streaking Kings ready for meeting with short-handed Coyotes

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The Los Angeles Kings will try to continue piling up points when they meet the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night in Tempe, Ariz.

The Kings are 8-1-2 in their past 11 games following a dominant 5-1 win against the visiting St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.

“We’ve had a couple of statement games early on in the season,” Kings forward Quinton Byfield said. “A lot of them have come on the road, which is a good thing and a bad thing, but we’ve got the home wins coming now, so that’s really good.”

Los Angeles jumped out to a 2-0 lead three minutes into Saturday’s game against St. Louis and led 4-0 after the opening period.

The Kings have proven to be difficult to come back against, evidenced by their 8-0-1 record when scoring first this season. Only the Kings, Washington Capitals (5-0-1), Colorado Avalanche (5-0-0), Blues (7-0-0) and Florida Panthers (7-0-1) are unbeaten in regulation when scoring first.

“It’s important to always have good starts, get on teams early,” Byfield said. “It starts the momentum for the whole team on the first shift.”

The Kings avoided a major loss after forward Pierre-Luc Dubois slid into the left goal post against the Panthers on Thursday and couldn’t put any weight on his left leg as he departed into the locker room.

Dubois got the green light to return against the Blues, however, and he scored the final goal of the first period.

“Yeah, I was a bit lucky, it could have been a lot worse, but the staff here did a great job of getting to the bottom of it as fast as possible,” Dubois said. “I’m lucky that I played (Saturday night).”

The Coyotes are adjusting to the loss of top-line center Barrett Hayton, who sustained an upper-body injury in the second period of a 3-2 win against the host Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Hayton is expected to miss four to six weeks.

Travis Boyd moved into Hayton’s spot on a line with Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller on Saturday night against the Winnipeg Jets.

Boyd made a nice pass to defenseman Matt Dumba to set up a goal that tied the score 2-2, but the Jets scored three unanswered goals to win 5-2.

Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said Schmaltz will also get a chance to play some center in Hayton’s absence.

“Schmaltzy proved in the past that he can play center, he’s a good center, it’s a matter of load for him, and that’s often why we use him as a wing is the number of minutes he plays,” Tourigny said. “I think it’s easier to play those minutes as a winger for him than as a center, but now we need him.”

Tourigny said the Coyotes are fortunate to have more depth at center this season.

“(Injury) tests your depth and tests, more importantly for me, it tests your character,” Tourigny said. “You see what you have down deep and how deep you can dig and find a way to play good hockey and don’t listen to excuses and all those things.”

–Field Level Media

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