Turning Wrongs Into Rights
The Phoenix Coyotes are hoping to rebound on the road after a tough pill had to be swallowed Tuesday night with a 4-3 home loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Dustin Penner scored the game winner with 21.3 seconds left in the third period after the Coyotes saw their 2-0 lead erased by three unanswered opposition goals and had to tie the game only to see it all just slip away so suddenly.
Dave Tippett's crew has little time to recoup before facing off against the Avalanche tonight, and the one point they missed getting last night is the same margin that separates the two teams in the current edition of the Western Conference standings. The Avalanche also have a game in hand, and are 15-0-0 when leading after two periods. Adversely, they have won six games when trailing after 40 minutes, an experience that especially after last night Phoenix surely does not want to see them repeat.
The Coyotes will need to win this one not only to save face for yesterday's mishap (don't worry boys, you're not the only ones to take the Oilers lightly, believe me) but also to head into the All Star break on a positive push, since they won't exactly be returning to a rosy task. Division rivals San Jose and West-toppers Vancouver will be there to welcome back the desert dogs for a back-to-back double-whammy to kick off February.
Scottie Upshall scored twice on Tuesday, tying him with Lee Stempniak for the team lead in goals. Ray Whitney is quietly gaining momentum as well, with two goals and seven assists in his last eight games. Matt Duchene, the Avalanche's leading scorer who is one goal shy of 20 on the season, is also one point shy of becoming the youngest Colorado player to get to 100. Paul Stastny celebrated a milestone of his own Saturday with his 100th career goal against Boston. Peter Budaj, who is 7-3-3 against the Coyotes, is expected to make his 200th career start tonight as well. Meanwhile, ex-Coyote Daniel Winnik has done well for himself this season in Colorado since being acquired for a fourth round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, going 7-9-16 in 48 games when he had gone 4-15-19 in his whole season (74 games) last year. Another ex-Coyote, Peter Mueller, is sidelined with a concussion since September 22nd and has yet to play a regular season game in 2010-11.
This second meeting between the two teams will be the final instalment of a five-game homestand for the Avalanche, who have gone .500 in it thus far. Phoenix won the last matchup by a score of 2-0, as Taylor Pyatt scored both goals in the contest and Jason LaBarbera made 34 saves for the shutout. The clubs will face off two more times this season, once on February 7th and for the last time of the year on April 1st, both at Jobing.com Arena.
(Don't fret, dear. They didn't pick you 'cause of your face.)
Yandle finally named an All Star
With an injury-ridden original All Star lineup, the NHL rewarded the third-best defenseman in the league with an invite to this weekend's festivities in Raleigh, North Carolina. The announcement was made before the 'Yotes faced off against the Oilers. With his contribution from that game, he now has a career-high 42 points (7-35) and leads the Coyotes in that category, and along with his current eight-game point streak he is also one assist away from 100 in his career.
Photos: NHL.com and phoenixcoyotes.com