This late in the regular season, it's vital to find out which teams have incentive AND are playing hard and which teams have packed it in.
This contrast between these two teams was made obvious this past weekend.
The Coyotes showed life and energy nearly sweeping the powerful Golden Knights at home. Arizona is pushing for the final playoff spot in the West Division. The Coyotes ended Las Vegas' 10-game win streak this past Friday with a 3-0 victory and then nearly upset the Golden Knights again on Saturday losing, 3-2, in overtime.
The Kings were the complete opposite. Even though mathematically their playoff hopes are alive, the players and coach know they aren't achieving the impossible. They are not making the postseason. LA nipped the Ducks, 2-1, this past Friday by scoring in the final minute. The Ducks, who have the second-fewest points in the NHL, then soundly whacked the listless Kings, 6-2, Saturday night.
Following that loss to the Ducks this is what Kings coach Todd McLellan had to say, "We're not going to make the playoffs. I just don't see how that's going to happen."
Now both teams have to suck it up and play their third game in four days. The Coyotes are 4-0 the past four times when favored. The Kings are 2-7 the past nine times when playing for the third time in four days.
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