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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 18th (All times eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (14-9-7) at New York Islanders (6-18-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - While the Coyotes' goaltending situation on Thursday made for an interesting story, there was nothing memorable about the end result of the game.

Losers in six of its last nine, Phoenix continues its tour of New York this evening with a matchup at Nassau Coliseum against the Islanders, who are coming off just their second victory in nearly two months.

After opening a six-game road trip with a 3-0 loss in New Jersey, the Coyotes headed to Madison Square Garden the following night to battle the Rangers. Starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, though, came down with the flu and with little time to make a roster move, Phoenix was left without a backup.

So, the Coyotes signed 26-year-old amateur netminder Tom Fenton, who works in the community relations department at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. A former collegiate goalie at American International in Springfield, Massachusetts, Fenton didn't get into the game but endured a whirlwind day nonetheless.

"It's 2:30, I'm getting my haircut, I'm packing up my things. I was done taking grad classes at Manhattanville College and getting ready to go home for Christmas," said Fenton, who all of a sudden found himself dressing for an NHL game at one of the world's most famous arenas.

"It was pretty amazing," he said. "I mentioned to the guys that I was surprised about the ice. I had never seen NHL ice before."

On the ice, Jason LaBarbera made just his second start since Nov. 10, but couldn't hold a two-goal lead as the Coyotes dropped a tough 4-3 shootout decision to the Rangers.

Taylor Pyatt, Adrian Aucoin and Martin Hanzal notched the goals for the Coyotes, who have dropped seven of their eight ventures beyond regulation this season. Ray Whitney celebrated his 1,100th NHL game with an assist on Hanzal's goal in the second period.

The Coyotes now go for their first victory on this road trip against an Islanders club that has won just twice in its last 22 games. New York snapped a six-game slide on Thursday with a 3-2 victory over the Ducks.

Matt Moulson, P.A. Parenteau and Blake Comeau all scored during a 99-second span in the first period and Rick DiPietro made 30 saves as the Isles were able to hang on.

"It's been a rough go lately, but we're not thrilled with the way we played," said Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald. "The important thing is we got two points."

Both of New York's victories over its 22-game span have come at home, where it is 4-7-2 this year. The club hasn't won back-to-back games since a three-game win streak from Oct. 16-21.

The Islanders have won three of their last four versus the Coyotes, including last year's 5-4 shootout tally in Phoenix. New York has won two straight as the host in this series as well.

12/18 10:55:14 ET


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