By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will try to stay undefeated vs. Minnesota this season when they host the Wild tonight at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (27-16-5) has beaten Minnesota twice this season, once in Glendale and once in Saint Paul.
, who stopped all 28 shots he faced the last time these teams played on Dec. 7 in Glendale, is expected to start in goal for the Coyotes, who snapped a three-game winless streak by beating New Jersey, 4-3, on Thursday. Bryzgalov earned his 24th win in that game.
Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski
will be back in the lineup after serving a two-game suspension for elbowing John Tavares of the New York Islanders a week ago.
"We're a different team when he's in the lineup, there's no doubt about that," Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin
said. "There aren't too many players in the league who enjoy playing against him. They know the kind of game he plays, not just physical but all-round. He's one of our ultimate leaders, for sure, and he's really helped us win games."
Minnesota (24-21-3) has won four of its past five games and is quietly creeping into the playoff picture after a slow start under new Head Coach Todd Richards. The Wild will enter the game in 10th place in the Western Conference standings, just four points behind eighth-place Los Angeles.
Goalie Niklas Backstrom, who did not play in the Wild's 1-0 loss at St. Louis on Thursday, is expected back in goal tonight. Backstrom is 9-3-0 with a 1.68 goals-against average against Phoenix, but he has lost three of his last four decisions vs. the Coyotes.
Because of the NFL playoffs, tonight's game will be aired on KFNN-AM (1510) and not XTRA Sports 910 AM.