NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, December 17th (All times Eastern)
New York Rangers (17-8-4) at Phoenix Coyotes (16-12-3), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers have fallen on hard times lately and look to get back into the swing of things tonight in the continuation of a three-game road trip against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena.
The Rangers have lost two in a row and four of six games (2-3-1) since winning five straight, and opened the swing with a 4-1 loss at St. Louis on Thursday. Michael Del Zotto scored and Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves for the Rangers, whose four-game road winning streak came to an end.
"We simply didn't win enough battles," New York head coach John Tortorella said. "It was a game that was going to be played on the walls, and they beat us at that game."
New York is 9-5-2 away from Madison Square Garden this season and will close out the trek Tuesday against rival New Jersey. It has registered a point in 16 of the last 21 games (14-5-2).
Ryan Callahan has tallied 11 points (4g, 7a) in the last 11 games, while Marian Gaborik is two assists from 300 in his career, two goals shy of 300 and four points from 600.
Phoenix ended a three-game losing streak its last time out with a 4-2 win versus the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night in the desert.
Shane Doan and Oliver Ekman-Larsson each had a goal during the third period and Lauri Korpikoski and Radim Vrbata also scored for the Coyotes, who won for the third time in their last eight games.
"We bounced back and played a solid game tonight," said Ekman-Larsson.
Mike Smith made 18 saves in a winning effort. The Coyotes had a 42-20 advantage in shots and pushed their home record to 7-6-2. They are tied with San Jose for second place in the Pacific Division behind Dallas.
Doan snapped a seven-game drought without registering a goal. Cal O'Reilly returned to the lineup for the first time since Nov. 25, a span of nine games, and recorded an assist. He is five games from the 100th of his career. Keith Yandle has tallied 11 points (3g, 8a) in his last 14 games for Phoenix.
Vrbata owns 14 goals in his last 22 games after scoring only once in his first nine contests.
New York and Phoenix are playing the first of two matchups this season and will meet again Jan. 10 in the Big Apple. The Rangers took last year's meeting by a 4-3 score in a shootout on Dec. 16 at MSG and have won six of the previous eight matchups between the teams.
12/17 10:40:49 ET