Three things you need to know about Game 2 of the Western Conference final between the Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angles Kings. Kings lead the series 1-0.
Coyotes need an answer for the Kings top line
A big part of the Kings success in this playoff run has been their balanced attack. They have scored 31 goals and only 13 have come from their top line. But that top line of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams was flying in the series opener. They fired 15 shots on goal and the Coyotes did not have an answer for the trio.
For the most part, Phoenix coach Dave Tippett employed his top line of Martin Hanzel, Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata against the Kings top trio. The Hanzel line needs to be much better and so does the Coyotes defence corps.
The possible return of veteran defenceman Adrian Aucoin could help the Coyotes cause. He missed the series opener with a nagging lower-body injury and he will be a game-time decision.
Coyotes have a bounce-back ability
Each time the Coyotes endured a clunker outing in the first two rounds they emerged with a much better result in the next game. They want to avoid going down 2-0 after two home games, the same situation the Kings put the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues in the first two rounds.
The Kings have gone a perfect 6-0 in this playoff run and a victory on Tuesday will match the Stanley Cup playoff record for most consecutive road playoff wins, last done by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.
Simon Gagne cleared for contact
Kings veteran Simon Gagne has been cleared for contact, but Los Angeles head coach Darryl Sutter said there is zero chance Gagne will return at some point in this playoffs.
Gagne suffered a concussion when he was checked into the glass in a game against Phoenix on Dec. 26 and he will need plenty of time to overcome the five-month layoff.
Gagne, 32, is not with the team in Arizona. Instead, he's skating on his own back in Los Angeles. He has plenty of playoff experience. He was with the Philadelphia Flyers when they lost to Chicago in the 2010 final and with the Tampa Bay Lightning when they advanced to the East final a year ago.
Kings forward lines
Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Jeff Carter
Dwight King - Jarret Stoll - Trevor Lewis
Brad Richardson - Colin Fraser - Jordan Nolan
Starting goalie: Jonathan Quick
Coyotes forward lines
Ray Whitney - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Mikkel Boedker - Antoine Vermette - Shane Doan
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Laurie Korpikoski
Gilbert Brule - Daymond Langkow - Kyle Chipchura
Starting goalie: Mike Smith
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