Coyotes out to stop King-sized road warriors | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaCoyotes out to stop King-sized road warriors

Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2012 | 02:54 PM

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Shane Doan, left, and his Coyotes teammates will attempt to hand Jarret Stoll, right, and the Kings their first road loss of the 2012 NHL playoffs when they open the Western Conference final at Phoenix on Sunday night. (Harry How/Getty Images) Shane Doan, left, and his Coyotes teammates will attempt to hand Jarret Stoll, right, and the Kings their first road loss of the 2012 NHL playoffs when they open the Western Conference final at Phoenix on Sunday night. (Harry How/Getty Images)

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The Los Angeles Kings have gone a perfect 5-0 on the road in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs and hope to continue this trend in Phoenix against the Coyotes in the opener of the Western Conference final on Sunday.

Three things you need to know for the NHL Western Conference opener in Phoenix on Sunday night.

Will there be any goals scored in this series?

The Kings and Coyotes rank first and second, respectively, in goals-against average in these playoffs, mostly due to their stingy goalies, Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick and Phoenix's Mike Smith.

Quick leads all remaining playoff goaltenders with a 1.55 GAA and .949 save percentage. Smith sits third with a 1.77 GAA and second with a .948 save percentage.

The Kings, meanwhile, have made their way through two rounds of the playoffs with a power play that has gone a poor 4-for-47 in nine games. But they have been solid on the penalty kill at 35-for-38 and they have scored two shorthanded goals in the process.

The Kings have gone perfect on the road

The team that has won the first game in the previous 12 series in the 2012 playoffs has gone on to win nine times. Both the Kings and Coyotes have twice won their series opener to advance to the West final, but the Kings turned the trick twice on the road.

In fact, they have gone a perfect 5-0 on the road, while the Coyotes check in with a 4-1 road record, but only 4-3 home record.

Still, considering these two teams were not among the top eight in the West as late as St. Patrick's Day, they weren't expected to advance this far.

Torres appeal likely to heard this week

The Coyotes expect to have Raffi Torres's appeal heard by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman later this week. Torres was suspended for 25 games for his headshot on Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa in the first round. Torres will serve the ninth game of that suspension on Sunday.

He knows his hit was illegal and that he is a repeat offender, but Torres feels that 25 games was excessive and wants the suspension reduced or possibly include pre-season games. But will this appeal be a distraction to the Coyotes?

"We will miss Raffi on the ice in this series, but his appeal has no impact on the team whatsoever," Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said. "Like many of the other speed bumps we have faced the past few seasons, we accept the fact Raffi will not play for us again this year. We hope, for Raffi and our team's sake, something positive comes out of his appeal."

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

Marc-Andre Pouliot - Boyd Gordon - Laurie Korpikoski

Gilbert Brule - Daymond Langkow - Kyle Chipchura

Starting goalie: Mike Smith

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