NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, October 23rd (All times eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (3-3-0) at Phoenix Coyotes (2-2-1), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes will look to salvage the finale of a five-game road trip this evening when they visit Jobing.com Arena and the Phoenix Coyotes, who seek back-to-back victories for the first time this season.
The Hurricanes began the season with a two-game sweep of Minnesota in Finland, but have gone 1-3-0 on their subsequent swing upon their return to North America. Carolina snapped a two-game slide by beating San Jose on Tuesday, but fell right back into the loss column with Wednesday's 4-3 setback in Los Angeles.
Jeff Skinner, the seventh overall pick of the 2010 draft, notched his first NHL goal, a game-tying tally in the third period, but backup netminder Justin Peters was bested from an odd angle by the Kings' Andrei Loktionov later in the frame.
Peters ended with 23 saves and both Chad LaRose and Eric Staal also scored, but Carolina failed on two late power plays in the final stanza.
"Our power play is a little slow moving," Carolina coach Paul Maurice admitted. "I liked a lot of what we tried to do. I thought we had pretty good bite in our game, we had some good jump, had some great scrums around their net toward the end, and we couldn't put it in."
Staal matched Geoff Sanderson for fifth on the franchise's all-time goals scored list with 196. He has five goals and an assist in six career games against the Coyotes.
After getting rested on Wednesday, Cam Ward will likely start this contest and is 2-2-0 with a 3.45 goals-against average in four career starts versus Phoenix.
The Coyotes won their first game of the season versus the Bruins in the Czech Republic, but went 0-2-1 over their next three games before besting the Kings, 4-2, on Thursday.
Phoenix was playing without captain Shane Doan, who served the first contest of a three-game suspension for a hit to the head versus Anaheim last Sunday, as well as Martin Hanzal due to a lower-body injury, but Lee Stempniak stepped up with his first career hat trick.
Andrew Ebbett, recalled from the minors after Hanzal's injury, also scored and Ed Jovanovski had three assists in the win. Ilya Bryzgalov made 28 saves.
"It was a big game for us in terms of establishing our identity," Stempniak said. "We've had a bit of a tough schedule, a bit erratic. It was good for us to come here playing a strong team game."
Bryzgalov is just 1-3-0 with a 3.46 GAA in his career when facing the 'Canes, but that victory was a 29-save shutout when the clubs met for the only time last year in March. Stempniak added a pair of goals as the Coyotes won for the fifth time in the last seven meetings in the series.
Carolina, which won't play its first true home game this season until Wednesday, snapped a two-game series road losing streak the last time the teams met in the desert and will face former teammate Ray Whitney tonight.
Whitney spent each of his last five seasons with the Hurricanes, helping the franchise win a Stanley Cup in 2006. He had 119 goals and 334 points with Carolina, but joined Phoenix as a free agent his past offseason.
10/23 10:38:06 ET