Red-hot Adrian Kempe ready to lead Kings against Coyotes

Red-hot Adrian Kempe ready to lead Kings against Coyotes

Los Angeles Kings forward Adrian Kempe made his first NHL All-Star appearance earlier this month, and the 25-year-old Swede continues to perform like one of the league’s best, scoring two goals in each of the past two games.Kempe again will be a focus of attention when the Arizona Coyotes host the Kings in Glendale, Ariz., on Wednesday night.Kempe had two goals and an assist in the Kings’ 5-3 road win over the Coyotes on Saturday, giving him 23 goals for the season. That’s far better than his previous career high of 16 in 2017-18, his first full season in the NHL.”He’s just shooting more, getting better scoring chances,” linemate Alex Iafallo said. “I feel like he’s always in the right spot, but his release is quicker, and his one-timer is really good right now. It’s fun to watch.”Kempe has helped the Kings go 2-1-0 since his All-Star appearance on Feb. 5, building on their 10-5-2 stretch between the Christmas and All-Star breaks. The consistent play has put Los Angeles squarely in the playoff picture in the West.Before his three-point performance against the Coyotes on Saturday, Kempe had two goals in a 4-3 victory against the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday, including the overtime winner.Los Angeles coach Todd McLellan said Kempe is at his best when he’s focused defensively, which tends to create offense.”When he’s really (playing defense) well, it’s going the other way for him,” McLellan said.The back-to-back wins last weekend marked the first time in team history the Kings rallied from multiple-goal deficits to win on consecutive days.After losing to the Kings, the Coyotes hosted the Dallas Stars on Sunday and won 3-1, putting them in position to win back-to-back games in regulation for just the second time this season.The other time came Jan. 17-19, when the Coyotes beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-2 and the New Jersey Devils 4-1.

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