The Arizona Coyotes are standing tall through a challenging early schedule and are out to extend their success with a visit to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. Despite playing four of their first five games on the road, the Coyotes are 3-2-0 to open the season. It is the first time since the 2015-16 season Arizona delivered three victories in its first five games. The Coyotes finally played their first home game Saturday and put together a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks when Clayton Keller and Jason Zucker scored goals. It was also the first time they won their home opener since October 2016. The Ducks tried to lean into the Coyotes with a tough, physical style of play and the Coyotes matched it and then some. “That was good ol’ hockey, and I love that,” Coyotes forward Liam O’Brien said. “I love the pushback from everybody in the dressing room. It wasn’t just a few guys, it was everybody. That’s important, team toughness, and you can tell that we have it in this room.” Arizona goalie Karel Vejmelka had 32 saves while holding Anaheim to a single third-period goal, while winning for the second time in three games. Zucker left Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury and did not return, while forward Michael Carcone met the same fate with an upper-body injury. The Coyotes still were able to win consecutive games and now look to find the form that led them to road victories against the New Jersey Devils and St. Louis Blues. They absorbed a pair of one-goal defeats at the New York Rangers and New York Islanders. The Kings enter off a 4-2 defeat to the Boston Bruins at home Saturday and have yet to win a home game in three tries. Their two victories came at Winnipeg and Minnesota. Los Angeles’ high point Saturday came as Anze Kopitar played in his 1,297th game to pass Dustin Brown for the top spot in franchise history. Another moment to savor came from rookie Alex Laferriere’s first career goal. “It was definitely a little relieving,” Laferriere said after playing in his fifth career game. “I felt a little pressure on myself, especially because I want my linemates to reap the rewards of finding me in the slot. It was good to get that first one.” At 36, Kopitar is tied for second on the Kings with five points (two goals, three assists). He won two Stanley Cup titles with the Kings, the most recent in 2013-14.
Following a stretch of just one playoff appearance in five seasons, the Kings appeared on the rise again with playoff berths in each of the past two seasons, while tying for the most home wins of any Western Conference team last season at 26.