Maybe the verdict is still out on whether or not the Coyotes are a playoff team.

The inconsistency that’s marred their play and current position outside of the top-eight in the Western Conference certainly suggest the Coyotes could be spectators come spring time for the second straight season.

But, every now and then, they offer up reasons why they could easily be playoff-bound, and Tuesday’s 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings in front of 13,681 at Arena was the latest piece of evidence.

Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored twice, and goalie Thomas Greiss was solid in corralling a 30-shutout to start a five-game homestand.

“We’ve been talking about the process and not to worry too much about the result,” center Antoine Vermette said. “Obviously, we’re in a game of results. We know that – we’re fully aware of it.

“But tonight I think 3-0 against a great team like that if you look at the game in general, we did touch a lot of areas that did well. That’s a really encouraging sign for us.”

If the Coyotes are able to improve their playoff candidacy, especially before the impending Olympic break, Ekman-Larsson will likely help spur the charge because that’s what elite players do. And more and more, that’s becoming an appropriate label for the 22-year-old.

“There’s no doubt,” Vermette said. “He’s such a key player for us. He’s very talented, but he does a lot of good things out there – not only on the scoreboard tonight, but he plays big minutes against the best players in the league and he’s very effective on both sides of the game.”

After logging a career-high 34:57 of ice time Sunday in Vancouver, Ekman-Larsson tipped a relatively even first period in the Coyotes favor when his wrist shot from the point beat Kings goalie Jonathan Quick at 15:57.

“He came down to 26 (minutes) today,” coach Dave Tippett said. “It was a light day for him.”

Then only 12 seconds into a power play in the second period, Ekman-Larsson’s slap shot snuck by Quick’s glove at 3:16.

“I’ve been feeling really good since I got back from injury,” Ekman-Larsson said. “I’m happy how I’m playing right now.”

Captain Shane Doan posted the 500th assist on his career on the play. He ranks third in franchise history behind Dale Hawerchuk (550) and Thomas Steen (553).

“It’s obviously something that’s pretty unique and special,” Doan said.

The Coyotes earned that power play opportunity after winger Kyle Chipchura was leveled with a shoulder check by Kings center Jordan Nolan. Chipchura’s head was down as he battled for a puck along the boards and as the play advanced and Chipchura started to lift his head, Nolan caught Chipchura with his shoulder.