NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 13th (All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (40-22-5) at Carolina Hurricanes (28-31-8), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes will play their first road game in just over a month this evening when they kick off a four-game swing versus the Carolina Hurricanes at RBC Center.
The Coyotes are among the league leaders with 25 home wins, but play 11 of their final 15 contests on the road. That includes each of their next four games, as they play as the visitor for the first time since Feb. 12.
Phoenix went 3-2-0 on a five-game homestand, with four of those games coming after the Olympic break, and wrapped the residency with a 4-3 shootout win on Wednesday versus Vancouver.
Ilya Bryzgalov made 36 saves but allowed three of the Canucks' six shootout skaters to score. However, the Coyotes bested Vancouver's Andrew Raycroft four times, getting the winner from defenseman Adrian Aucoin in the sixth round.
"We're very fortunate to get any points out of it, let alone two. We didn't compete anywhere near the level I'd like us to compete. You're playing against a team that played [Tuesday] night, and I though [the Canucks] dictated a lot of the play," said Phoenix coach Dave Tippett.
Taylor Pyatt scored his 100th career goal during regulation and Lee Stempniak added a pair of tallies over the first 60 minutes. Stempniak now has three goals and an assist in three games since being acquired in a trade with Toronto on March 3.
Phoenix, which has won five of its last seven as the guest, reached 40 wins for just the second time since relocating from Winnipeg prior to the 1996-97 season. The Coyotes last reached the 40-win mark in 2001-02, which was also the last time the franchise made the playoffs. However, Phoenix is tied with Los Angeles for the fourth spot in the Western Conference.
The Coyotes' road play will face a tough challenge tonight as the Hurricanes continue a four-game homestand. They won the opener of the residency on Thursday, besting Pittsburgh, 4-3, in overtime to run their home winning streak to eight games.
Brian Pothier scored the game-winner when he one-timed a Ray Whitney pass into the back of the net 23 seconds into overtime for his fifth goal of the season and first in five games since being acquired from Washington before the trade deadline.
Whitney, Pothier and Eric Staal each had a goal and an assist, while Zach Boychuk also scored for a Carolina club that hasn't lost at home since Jan. 18. The 'Canes are 2-1-1 over their last four games since a seven-game win streak, and 14-4-1 in their last 19 games. However, the club remains eight points back of the Bruins for the eighth spot in the East.
Justin Peters made 37 saves in his fifth career start.
"Our goaltender was real good and we found a way to win a game," said Carolina head coach Paul Maurice. "It wasn't pretty. We had some guys down, some guys injured, and some guys fatigued after last night, but it was good that we got the win."
One of this injured players was Brandon Sutter, who left in the first period due to a lower-body injury and is questionable for this game.
Carolina had lost four straight to Phoenix before winning both meetings last season by a combined 12-4 margin. That includes a 5-2 home win on Nov. 21, 2008 for its third win in its last five at home versus the Coyotes.
Peters has never faced Phoenix, while fellow Hurricane netminder Manny Legace is 7-7-1 with two ties and a 2.34 goals-against average versus the franchise.
Bryzgalov has never beaten the Hurricanes, going 0-3-0 with a 5.06 GAA in three starts.
03/13 10:37:25 ET