The Los Angeles Kings remain the lowest-scoring team in the league, but perhaps some fresh blood can kick start the offense. It certainly worked on Sunday.
After capping a six-game road trip with a victory thanks in part to a pair of first-career goals by Jordan Nolan and Dwight King, Los Angeles looks to create some separation tonight between itself and the eighth-seeded Phoenix Coyotes.
The Kings went 2-3-1 on their recently-completed road trip, potting just six goals over the first five games of the swing. Three of those came in one game, but Los Angeles got its offense on track for at least one game in a 4-2 win over Dallas on Sunday.
Nolan's goal in his second NHL contest was the game-winning tally in the third period. King assisted on the marker after netting his first goal in the first period of his eighth career game and second this season.
Both Nolan, the son of former Sabres and Islanders head coach Ted Nolan, and King were recalled from the minors on Friday and skated in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Isles on Saturday.
"It's good to head home with a good feeling," Nolan said. "The guys were a little bitter after the Islanders loss, but we came in here, we worked hard, had a good third period and finished it off."
With 65 points, Los Angeles is tied with Chicago for the sixth spot in the Western Conference, two more than eighth-seeded Phoenix. The Kings are also three points back of the Sharks for the top spot in the Pacific Division.
Los Angeles is 6-0-1 in its past seven games versus the Coyotes, winning four straight at home in this series.
Phoenix will look to snap that slide in Los Angeles tonight and avoid a second straight loss after having a five-game win streak halted with Monday's 2-1 shootout setback to Vancouver.
Coyotes netminder Mike Smith was named the NHL's First Star of the week earlier in the day, but was rested versus the Canucks in favor of Jason LaBarbera. The backup made 21 saves in his first start since Jan. 13, but was bested four times in the six-round shootout.
Keith Yandle scored with 2:06 left in regulation to force the extra time.
"It's nice to get the goal at the end, but it would have been nice to get the two [points]," LaBarbera said.
Taylor Pyatt is questionable for this game after leaving Monday's contest in the second period with an upper-body injury following a hit. Derek Morris' status is also up in the air due to a strained groin.
The Coyotes sit one point up on Calgary for the final playoff spot in the West and should give Smith the start tonight. He earned First Star honors after winning all four of his starts last week with a 0.74 goals-against average and .975 save percentage. He gave up just three goals in the four outings, capped with a 38-save shutout of Chicago on Saturday.