NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, December 27th
(All times eastern)
Minnesota Wild (20-14-2) at Phoenix Coyotes (17-16-1), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Wild will hope to rebound from a lopsided
defeat tonight when they travel to Phoenix to play the Coyotes at Jobing.com
The Wild have less than 24 hours to recover from an 8-3 defeat at the hands of
the Dallas Stars on Wednesday. The eight goals allowed tied a franchise
record, first set in an 8-3 loss to Detroit on November 16, 2001.
Pavol Demitra tallied twice and Aaron Voros had a goal and an assist for the
Wild, who dropped their second straight contest. Josh Harding had a rough
outing between the pipes, allowing all eight goals on 33 shots.
Marian Gaborik had a seven-game point streak (8 goals, 4 assists) stopped in
the loss. That run included a five-goal game against the New York Rangers last
Thursday, a performance that helped him earn the NHL's first star for his play
Gaborik has a point in 12 of his last 14 games (11g, 6a) and leads the Wild
with 18 goals and 34 points this year. He also set a franchise record last
night by skating in his 439th career game with the Wild. That broke Wes Walz's
former mark. Walz retired from the league on December 1.
Minnesota fell to 8-8-2 on the road this season and plays the second of back-
to-back road tests tonight. The Wild play their next three at home, starting
on Saturday against Edmonton.
Meanwhile, the Coyotes just can't seem to find a way to win at home
consistently. The club returned to Phoenix after going 5-1-0 on a recent road
trip and lost to Vancouver, 2-1, in a shootout on Saturday.
After Phoenix's Radim Vrbata lifted a backhander over the right pad of Roberto
Luongo, Vancouver was down to its last shooter. Trevor Linden walked in and
roofed the puck over the glove of Ilya Bryzgalov, giving Shane Doan a chance
to win it for Phoenix, but his offering was denied.
In the fourth round, Pyatt slipped the disc through the five-hole of Bryzgalov
and Joel Perrault missed the net, securing the win for Vancouver.
Zbynek Michalek tallied in regulation for the Coyotes, who had won their last
four games. Bryzgalov finished with 34 saves in the loss, but is still 5-2-1
with a 1.60 goals-against average and .946 save percentage in his last eight
Also, Shane Doan had an assist to give him a team-leading 27 points. He has
points in four straight games (1 goal, 3 assists) and has amassed two goals
and five assists over his last seven games.
The Coyotes, who began a four-game residency on Saturday, fell to 5-8-1 at
home. The club is 12-8-0 on the road this season.
The Wild have won five in a row and seven of the last eight against the
Coyotes. The club has also won two straight and three of its last four in
12/27 10:58:50 ET