By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will continue their four-game stretch at Atlantic Division teams tonight when they play the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time).
will start in goal tonight for the Coyotes against the team that selected him with the 66th overall pick in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft. LaBarbera (2-3-0, 3.08 goals-against average) played only five games for the Rangers before being dealt to the Los Angeles Kings in 2005.
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Ilya Bryzgalov
has the flu and will not dress tonight. Instead, the Coyotes will dress emergency amateur goaltender Tom Fenton as LaBarbera's backup. Fenton played college hockey at AIC (American International College) in Springfield, Mass. In four seasons with the Yellow Jackets, he played in 81 career games and posted a 14-51 record with a 3.87 GAA. Fenton is also involved with multiple hockey schools throughout his native Ontario. Prior to his collegiate career he played for the Milton Ice Hawks (OPJHL) in 2004-05. Before that he played for the WOJHL's Petrolia Jets from 2002-04, helping the Jets to the league title in 2002-03 and was named Playoff MVP; he was also named team MVP both years.
Phoenix (14-9-6) began the trek with a 3-0 loss to New Jersey on Wednesday night. Both teams took 29 shots on goal, but Devils goalie Martin Brodeur stopped all that he faced while Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
let three get past him.
|Photo by Getty Images.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett was upset by the loss and labeled many of his players “passengers.” Captain Shane Doan
also was not impressed with his team’s effort.
"It's a little disappointing when you have a team that's struggling like that, and we let them come out and take control,” Doan said. “They were a desperate team and we gave them life by allowing the two early goals. They were able to feed off that."
The Rangers (19-13-1) also played a road game on Wednesday and earned a 4-1 victory over Pittsburgh.
That was the good news for New York. The bad news is forward Ryan Callahan, the team’s second-leading scorer, suffered a fractured hand in that victory and is out for approximately six weeks.
“I'm not going to sit here and pretend,” Rangers Head Coach John Tortorella told reporters. “That's a big loss to us."
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves in Wednesday’s game. Should he play again tonight he will look to remain unbeaten against Phoenix. in three career starts, Lundqvist is 3-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA vs. the Coyotes.