Kings and Coyotes about to get cozy over next week

The Kings and Coyotes have met only once this season, back on Jan. 26. The Kings came away victorious in Glendale, Ariz., by a 4-2 count.

I hope both teams are ready to see each other a lot over the next week, because they will.

L.A. and Phoenix will play each other three times over the next five games, including a back-to-back at Staples Center next Monday and Tuesday.

Naturally, teams go through changes as the season wears on, and you can definitely tell that the Kings and Coyotes are much improved from where they were in late January.

Head coach Dave Tippett can see the championship team in the Kings starting to emerge, which is scary.

“They’re playing just a simple, hard game, they’ve got some top players that are contributing, their goaltending is playing a lot better than it was earlier in the year,” Tippett said. “They’re just a solid team, they’re gonna challenge you with their work ethic, and challenge you with putting pucks deep.”

Tippett says the team really zeroes in on division opponents like the Kings a bit more than they would non-division opponents, because they hold more significance being how important it is to have a solid record within the Pacific Division.

Defenseman Keith Yandle knows you can’t come up against the Kings ill prepared, because they will kill you if you do.

“We obviously know what type of team they are, how good they are,” Yandle said. “We know we gotta be at our best to beat them.”

“Playing them three times [over] the next five games, it’s a big test for our team and I think we’re all looking forward to it.”

Fellow defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson spoke on the physical nature of the Kings, and what the team needs to do to counter that.

“We have to play physical against [their] top guys and get the puck deep and get the puck to the net,” Ekman-Larsson said.

“A lot of shots,” he said.