When the Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes met a month ago, the former was in the middle of a season-opening skid and latter was beginning a promising winning streak.
Things have since shifted back toward what's been expected of the two teams in recent seasons, which the Kings can further Tuesday night at Staples Center as the Coyotes try to sweep a back-to-back set in Southern California.
In Saturday's 4-1 home win over Florida, Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles (9-5-0) improved to 9-2-0 since losing its first three games by a 12-2 total. The power play went 0 for 13 in that time and is 9 for 32 (28.1 percent) since with goals in three straight games.
"If we had the answers for how to score in this league, I think we'd have a few more," coach Darryl Sutter said. "Most of the goals are scored through special teams, through one-timers and through jam plays around the net. Tonight they were all scored like that."
Jeff Carter had a goal and an assist, giving him goals in three straight games and seven with six assists over his last nine.
"It's great to see him kind of take it over and lead the team in the right direction, turning it around after the 0-3 start," Milan Lucic told the team's official website. "He's one of those guys that wants to score and wants to be a part of contributing to a team's success, and that's what you need out of your big guys and your leaders."
Another of those leaders, Jonathan Quick, got back on track after allowing 10 goals in his previous three games. Since the losing streak, he's 7-2-0 with a 1.77 goals-against average and .935 save percentage.
The Coyotes (7-6-1) opened the season series with a 4-1 win in Los Angeles on Oct. 9, but the Kings have won four of the last six with Quick going 3-1-1 with a 1.77 GAA.
That led to a three-game winning streak but was followed by a 3-6-1 span before Monday's 4-3 overtime victory in Anaheim. The Coyotes fell behind 2-0 in the first, took a 3-2 lead in the second, and lost it in the middle of the third before Mikkel Boedker's breakaway winner on a mid-ice turnover.
Boedker added an assist and has 10 points in seven games, while Max Domi scored twice and has 13 points in his first 14 NHL games. The 20-year-old rookie had a goal and an assist against the Kings.
"They were opportunistic," coach Dave Tippett told the team's official website. "The guys played well all over the ice but when you get that opportunity to score, that's what separates them. Max is one of those guys that finds an opportunity to score and takes it."
Anders Lindback faced the Ducks and has been the superior choice in goal with a 1.99 GAA in two starts and three relief appearances, but Mike Smith will be back against the Kings. Smith started the season 3-0-0 with a 0.67 GAA and .981 save percentage, but he's fallen off since with a 2-4-1 record, 4.33 GAA and .860 save percentage in his last nine games.
Smith's dazzling start included the win over the Kings, but he's 5-4-0 with a 2.97 GAA in his last 10 in the series.
Arizona was without Antoine Vermette for the sixth time in seven games Monday, while Nicklas Grossmann also missed the game, both with lower-body injuries.