Phoenix on a roll headed into series against Kings

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Phoenix Coyotes never seem to have it easy, be it playing without an owner for three straight seasons or giving up late goals in the playoffs.

They're a resilient bunch, though, which makes the reward of getting to the Western Conference finals for the first time that much sweeter.

Capping one of the most monumental days in franchise history, Phoenix beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 Monday night to earn a trip to the conference finals for the time in 33 years as an NHL team, just hours after learning a new owner was in place.

Next up for the Coyotes will be the Los Angeles Kings, a division rival that no one expected to get this far.
Kings get back to work, prepare for Coyotes
Although the Los Angeles Kings are in uncharted playoff territory for this roster, they're meeting a familiar opponent there.

The Kings spent Tuesday in early preparations for their all-Pacific Division matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes. Los Angeles is making its second trip to the conference finals in 45 years of existence to face a franchise in its first NHL conference final ever.

Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown thinks the unusual matchup is great for hockey, boosting two long-suffering markets while underlining the league's parity and the Pacific's toughness.

Both teams are built around goaltending, with Jonathan Quick and Mike Smith emerging as two of the NHL's best puck-stoppers this season.

Brown thinks the teams are similar on the rest of the ice as well, with solid defenses and grinding offenses.