NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, October 7th
(All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (1-0-0) at Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0-0), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins will
try to continue their hot start to the 2009-10 season when they host the
Phoenix Coyotes tonight at Mellon Arena.
The Penguins, who edged Detroit in seven games to claim the franchise's third
Cup, have jumped out to a 2-0 start to the new season. Both of Pittsburgh's
wins have come over New York-based clubs as the Pens began the season Friday
with a home win over the Rangers and then notched a road victory the following
night against the Islanders.
Saturday's game pitted last year's champs against the team with the fewest
points in the NHL last season, but the Penguins didn't simply roll past the
Isles as the game went well past regulation. Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby
scored during the shootout phase, giving Pittsburgh a 4-3 win over the
Islanders and spoiling the NHL regular season debut of No. 1 overall draft
pick John Tavares.
Crosby and Ruslan Fedotenko each had a goal and an assist in regulation for
Pens. Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves, but faced just six shots combined in
the third period and overtime.
With his performance on Saturday, Crosby reached 400 points for his career in
his 292nd game. The 22-year-old became the sixth-fastest player in NHL history
to reach that milestone.
Following tonight's test the Penguins will head out on a four-game road trip,
beginning with Thursday's test against the intrastate rival Philadelphia
Flyers. Pittsburgh ousted Philly in six games during last year's conference
The Coyotes, meanwhile, will continue their season-opening three-game road
trip tonight after beginning the year with a lopsided win over a Pacific
Division rival on Saturday.
Radim Vrbata scored twice as Phoenix posted a 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles
Scottie Upshall, Matthew Lombardi, Robert Lang and Daniel Winnik also scored
for the Coyotes in the debut of head coach Dave Tippett, who took over for
Wayne Gretzky in late September.
Phoenix's win starts a new season for a team that has faced near-constant
turmoil since owner Jerry Moyes filed for Chapter 11 back in May.
"It's just one game," Tippett said. "We have a lot of work to do. Tonight it's
a good feeling for those players, but the thing about this league is you have
to step up for the next one."
Ilya Bryzgalov made 30 saves for the Coyotes, who finished last season
36-39-7, missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. Despite the
postseason drought, Phoenix has a chance to start the season 2-0 for the
second straight year.
The Coyotes will complete their swing Thursday night in Buffalo before heading
back west. Phoenix's home opener is scheduled for Saturday against the
Columbus Blue Jackets.
Phoenix beat the visiting Penguins, 4-1, in the only meeting between the clubs
last year, ending a three-game losing streak in the series for the Coyotes.
Phoenix has lost three of its last five in Pittsburgh and the Coyotes' last
victory in the Steel City came on March 4, 2003.
10/07 10:45:57 ET