October 10, 2014

Though the surprising Arizona Coyotes took some knocks just before the All-Star break, they remain in position to make a run at their first postseason appearance in four years.

With coach Dave Tippett joining select company in his 1,000th game, the host Coyotes try to take four of five meetings from the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.

Arizona hasn't reached the playoffs since falling to Los Angeles in the Western Conference finals in 2011-12, but the young squad appears on its way to returning after matching its win total from last season.

The Coyotes (24-20-5), third in the Pacific with 53 points, are 11-2-2 in the division. They're also 3-0-1 against the Kings following a 3-2 win in their last home game Jan. 23.

Max Domi and Anthony Duclair rank fourth and fifth among rookies in points with 32 and 25. Louis Dominque, the rookie of the month for January, made 26 saves against Los Angeles after stopping 29 shots in a 4-3 overtime home loss to them Dec. 26.

Dominque, however, has had some time to think about what went wrong after allowing a season-high goal total on 25 shots in a 5-2 loss at Winnipeg last Tuesday, the club's final game before the All-Star break. The Coyotes have gone 2-4-1 in their last seven.

"Our young players are helping grow this organization," Tippett told the team's official website. "There's lots of learning to do yet but they're competitive in every game, and they want to do well and they want to learn, so it's a step in the right direction."

Tippett is set to become the 24th coach to reach 1,000 games. The former Kings assistant ranks eighth among active coaches and 20th on the all-time wins list with 512.

Some of his club's shortcomings have been at the offensive end as Arizona has totaled eight goals while going 1 for 23 on the power play in the last six games. The Coyotes, though, have scored 13 goals in four games against Los Angeles and have gone 4 for 10 with the man advantage in the past two.

Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has totaled four goals while producing at least one point in each of the four matchups, while winger Mikkel Boedker has four assists in the past two.

Los Angeles All-Star Jonathan Quick has a 2.19 goals-against average, but he's posted a 3.36 mark in dropping his last three starts. He's also struggled in this series, going 1-3-0 with a 3.25 GAA.

The Kings (30-16-3) lost three of four before the break and will play eight of the next nine on the road, though that could prove to be a positive. They've won six of eight there.

''We've got to make sure Tuesday we're as sharp as we were before and get it going again," center Anze Kopitar said. "The ground that we gained on some teams is going away quick.''

Vincent Lecavalier has four goals over his last seven games, though he's failed to score in his past six matchups with the Coyotes. Dustin Brown has scored in each of the past three against Arizona but his goal in last month's meeting was his only tally in his last 13 games overall.

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