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Friday, January 2nd (All times eastern)
New York Islanders (12-22-4) at Phoenix Coyotes (18-15-5), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Islanders haven't had much success against the Coyotes franchise since it moved to Phoenix. New York, still with the worst record in the NHL, heads west tonight to take on the Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena.
Formerly known as the Winnipeg Jets, the franchise relocated to Phoenix prior to the start of the 1996-97 season. The Islanders managed a tie in their first game in the desert that season, but points in Phoenix have been hard to come by since.
New York is just 1-5 with a pair of ties in eight games in Arizona and was beaten by a 6-3 margin in its last trip there on October 5, 2006. The clubs met on Long Island last year, with the Islanders winning a 3-2 contest for just their second win in the last 12 meetings (2-7 with three ties) with the Coyotes overall.
New York hopes it has turned a corner from its recent 10-game losing streak, as the club is 2-1-1 over its last four contests. That includes a win on Wednesday, as Mike Comrie scored twice and Mark Streit had a goal and an assist to help the Islanders to a 4-2 home victory over the Florida Panthers.
Sean Bergenheim also tallied, while Kyle Okposo chipped in with a pair of assists for the Islanders, who are still last in the NHL with 28 points. Doug Weight had an assist in the win and is now one point shy of 1,000 for his career. Weight has seven goals and 23 assists in 35 games this year and 16 goals and 45 assists in 57 all-time games against the Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise.
With Rick DiPietro again sidelined with a groin ailment, Joey MacDonald made 27 saves to halt his 11-start winless stretch. MacDonald had been 0-9-2 before Wednesday's win, his first since November 29.
MacDonald could be in line for his first-ever start versus the Coyotes with DiPietro questionable for tonight. DiPietro missed 27 games due to a groin injury before returning to action last Friday. However, he hasn't played in New York's last three games and has appeared in just four contests overall this season.
New York has still lost 10 straight on the road and begins a four-game swing tonight. The Islanders, who haven't won as the visiting team since November 24 in Montreal, are 5-13-2 as the road team this year.
Phoenix has split the first two games of a three-contest homestand. After a shutout loss to the Kings last Saturday, the Coyotes posted a 3-1 win over Colorado on Wednesday.
The Coyotes were also without an injured No. 1 goaltender, as Ilya Bryzgalov did not dress due to a sore back. Mikael Tellqvist started in his place and made 28 saves in the win. Bryzgalov's injury is serious enough that the club recalled Josh Tordjman from San Antonio of the American Hockey League to dress as the backup. However, if Bryzgalov can't play tonight, it will likely be Tellqvist making his first-ever start versus the Islanders, though he has faced them once in relief.
Peter Mueller scored twice in Wednesday's victory to give him three goals in his last three games after going 21 games without a goal. Mueller notched 22 tallies in his rookie year last season, but has just eight so far this year.
Olli Jokinen also scored and Shane Doan collected two assists for the Coyotes, who have lost in regulation just twice in their last 11 outings (6-2-3).
Phoenix, which is one point back of the second-place Ducks in the Pacific Division, is 12-5-2 as the host this year and will visit Anaheim on Sunday.
01/02 10:47:02 ET
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