Series (Game 3 of 4)

Arizona leads 4-0

Game 1: Wednesday, November 18th
Game 2: Monday, December 7th
Game 3: Saturday, January 16th
Game 4: Wednesday, February 10th

Wild 4

(24-22-3, 51 pts)

Coyotes 6

(28-16-5, 61 pts)

8:00 PM ET, January 16, 2010

Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona

1 2 3 T
MIN 0 1 34
ARI 2 0 46

P. Prucha (Coyotes - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

E. Jovanovski (Coyotes - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 4

G. Latendresse (Wild - LW): Goals: 3, Assists: 0

Wild-Coyotes Preview


The Phoenix Coyotes' stellar home record has taken a hit in recent weeks, but the team that has been perhaps the biggest surprise in the Western Conference is hoping to regain some momentum after beating the East's top club.

They've already won both meetings with the Minnesota Wild this season, and they'll try to make it three in a row Saturday night as the Wild visit Arizona looking to bounce back from a shutout loss.

Phoenix (27-16-5) ranks last in the NHL in home attendance, but the team had been 16-5-0 at Arena before a 0-2-2 stretch there that began on New Year's Eve.

The Coyotes, who are halfway through a six-game homestand, snapped that funk along with a three-game overall losing streak with a 4-3 win over New Jersey on Thursday night. While Phoenix was outshot 15-1 in the second period, blowing a 2-0 lead, the team bounced back in the third with goals from Daniel Winnik and Zbynek Michalek.

"We needed to earn some confidence in our group," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "We hadn't been playing very well.

"This is the first real adversity ... we've gone through this year," the coach added. "It's going to build some character into us."

Phoenix remains in fifth place in the West as the team tries to reach the postseason for the first time since 2002, but it is trying to regain its footing on the heels of a 1-3-2 overall slide that preceded the win over the Devils.

Workhorse goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who has anchored Phoenix's strong defense all season, has allowed three or more goals in each of his last five starts after holding 13 of his previous 16 opponents to two or fewer goals.

Bryzgalov had been pulled from his previous start last Saturday against the New York Islanders in the second period, but he made 31 saves on Thursday and helped keep the Coyotes in the game during their second-period stumble.

"We still don't think we've played our best game," Phoenix captain Shane Doan said. "We know we can be better than that but we found a way to win."

Phoenix will get defenseman Ed Jovanovski back on Saturday after the veteran served a two-game suspension for elbowing John Tavares of the Islanders last Saturday. That may make things tougher offensively for a Minnesota team that lost 2-0 at Phoenix on Dec. 7, when Bryzgalov made 28 saves.

That was the only time the Wild (24-21-3) had been shut out all season before they opened their road trip with a 1-0 loss at St. Louis on Thursday night, snapping their four-game winning streak.

"We battled, we competed," Wild coach Todd Richards said. "I think we helped their cause a little bit -- too many turnovers."

Minnesota was outshot 37-19 after scoring a total of 18 goals during the winning streak, which came entirely at home. The Wild have had far bigger problems on the road, averaging 2.1 goals while going 8-15-2.

They also lost 3-2 at home to Phoenix on Nov. 18 after going 12-2-0 in the teams' previous 14 meetings.

Niklas Backstrom, who will likely be back in net for Minnesota after getting Thursday night off, is 9-3-0 with a 1.68 goals-against average in his career against Phoenix, but he has lost three of four in the series after winning his first eight starts against the Coyotes.