NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, January 18th
(All times eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (29-11-6) at Phoenix Coyotes (28-16-5), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Coyotes will shoot for a third straight victory
when they continue their homestand at Jobing.com Arena with today's battle
against the Buffalo Sabres.
The Coyotes, who are tied with Nashville for fourth in the Western Conference,
had dropped five out of six games prior to posting recent victories over New
Jersey and Minnesota.
Phoenix notched a 4-3 regulation win over the Devils on Thursday and two days
later beat Minnesota, 6-4.
Vernon Fiddler had two points, including what turned out to be the game-
winning goal, as the Coyotes held off a furious rally from the Wild and won on
Saturday. Phoenix scored three times in the first 10 minutes of the third
period to stake itself to a 5-1 edge, but Minnesota answered with three goals
in a span of four minutes to make it a one-goal game. However, that was as
close as the Wild would get and Radim Vrbata's goal with one minute left in
regulation sealed the win.
Fiddler also had an assist, while Petr Prucha scored twice and registered a
helper for the Coyotes. Shane Doan tallied a goal and an assist, and Adrian
Aucoin also scored in the win. Ed Jovanovski, fresh off a two-game suspension,
had four assists, and Ilya Bryzgalov made 18 saves.
"Neither of the coaches are probably overly impressed with the defense in the
game," Doan said. "But it's nice to win, and we're making it a little more
difficult than we have to on ourselves. You get a 5-1 lead, you have to seal
that game, but we found a way to win in the end."
Phoenix, which will complete a six-game homestand Thursday against Nashville,
is 18-7-2 as the host this season.
Meanwhile, the Sabres, who lead the Northeast Division, have lost two of their
last three games, but have still recorded a point in 10 straight outings,
going 7-0-3 in that stretch.
Buffalo was last in action Saturday against the New York Islanders and lost
the close road decision at Nassau Coliseum. Trent Hunter scored the game-
winner in the eighth round of the shootout and Rick DiPietro earned his first
win in over a year behind 31 saves, as the Islanders took the 3-2 win.
Mike Grier and Drew Stafford notched the goals for Buffalo, while Ryan Miller
had 36 saves in the loss. Tim Connolly added an assist and has five goals and
11 assists during an 11-game point streak, which is the longest current
stretch in the NHL.
"You always like to get the other point, but in the scheme of things we're on
a long road trip, the guys dug in and battled hard," Grier said. "They're a
team that's playing good hockey. I think if we look back on it, we can be
pretty happy that we got a point."
The Sabres are in the midst of a seven-game road trip, the club's longest trek
of the season. Buffalo, which has four games left on the swing after today, is
13-6-1 as the guest this year.
Buffalo earned a 2-1 home win over the Coyotes back on October 8 and has taken
three straight in the series. The Sabres have also won in three of their last
four trips to Phoenix.
01/18 10:57:14 ET