NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, January 13th
(All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (21-17-5) at Minnesota Wild (20-18-3), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Wild couldn't have picked a better opponent
to start out their three-game homestand against. The Wild will try for their
seventh straight win over the Phoenix Coyotes as the host when the two clubs
meet tonight at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild return home having lost two straight and five of their last eight.
They won the first two contests of four-game road trip, with goaltender Niklas
Backstrom getting a shutout in each victory, before dropping tests in
Philadelphia and Columbus.
Backstrom had a personal three-start winning streak halted with the setback to
the Flyers, and the Wild opted to rest their starter in Columbus on Saturday.
Josh Harding instead got the call and he was tagged for four goals on 32 shots
faced in a 4-2 loss. Antti Miettinen and Marek Zidlicky each had a goal and an
assist in defeat.
Backstrom should get the call tonight, as he had won eight games in eight
starts versus the Coyotes before taking a loss against them on December 11. He
also has three shutouts and a 1.34 goals against average in his nine lifetime
starts versus Phoenix.
Minnesota, tied with Edmonton for last in the Northwest Division with 43
points, is 11-7-3 as the host this season and will also battled the Oilers and
Anaheim Ducks on this stand.
But first, Minnesota will aim to extend its six-game home winning streak over
Phoenix. The Wild haven't lost to the Coyotes at home since November 8, 2005
and have won 11 of the last 13 overall in the series. Minnesota had won nine
straight over Phoenix before the Coyotes posted a 3-1 home win on December 11.
Tonight marks the final meeting this season between the clubs.
The Coyotes enter this contest coming off a hard-fought 1-0 shootout win over
the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Kyle Turris got the game-winner in the fifth
round of the shootout to give Phoenix the two points.
After Ilya Bryzgalov stopped Mike Modano to begin the round, Turris skated in,
and after pulling Marty Turco to the left post on the backhand, slipped the
puck inside the left post and below the crossbar for the deciding score.
Bryzgalov ended with 38 saves for the Coyotes, who have won two in a row and
four of six. It was his second shutout of the season and second in his last
Bryzgalov, though, had lost his first six decisions against the Wild in his
career before notching the win on December 11 with a 30-save effort. He still
has just a 3.06 GAA against them.
Phoenix trails second-place Anaheim by two points in the Pacific Division and
will head west following this test to visit Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.
The Coyotes are 6-11-3 on the road this year, having lost four of five and six
of their last eight away from the desert.
01/13 10:52:27 ET