By Dave Vest
NEW YORK – The Coyotes will begin a hectic three-game road trip on Monday with a game against the New York Rangers at historic Madison Square Garden. The puck drops at 4 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (6-3-0) has been an effective road team thus far having earned three victories in four tries, including a 3-0 triumph over defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh on Oct. 7. In their four road games, the Coyotes have allowed just five goals, and one was an empty-netter.
Coyotes forward Scottie Upshall knows all about playing in Madison Square Garden from his 134-game stint with Philadelphia.
“It’s always a meaningful game there,” Upshall said. “The New York crowd is big. We’re hoping we go in and give them a good game. They’ve been a hot team, so for us it’s a big game. It’s going to be a big crowd, something that’s nice for us to jump into. We’re going to have to use the momentum of (playing in) the Madison Square Garden atmosphere to our advantage.”
Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has a 1.60 goals-against average, which ranks third in the NHL . He has stopped 195 of the 208 shots he has faced.
The Rangers (7-3-1) won seven games in a row earlier this season, but have lost three straight since. They are averaging four goals per game at home.
New York’s special teams have been solid. The Rangers rank among the league’s top-10 teams in power-play efficiency (26.1 percent) and penalty-killing efficiency (85.2).
Newcomer Marian Gaborik has notched eight goals and seven assists in 11 games.
“I’ve watched New York play a couple times,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. ”They look like they are playing a very fast style. Gaborik is certainly a guy that is putting a lot of points on the board, so we’ll have to go in there, play a strong road game (and) play fast ourselves. We want to be a fast team.”
Coyotes captain Shane Doan has tallied seven points in his past four games. He scored two goals on Saturday vs. Los Angeles. It was the 33rd multi-goal game of his career.
Rangers right wing Marian Gaborik is making an immediate impact in his first season in New York. In the past six games, he has notched four goals and four assists.
• Monday’s game will be the first of eight games in 13 days for the Coyotes, who already have had a three-day layoff and a four-day layoff between games this season.
• Coyotes forward Petr Prucha will return to the Madison Square Garden ice for the first time since the Rangers sent him to Phoenix along with Nigel Dawes and Dmitri Kalinin just before the trade deadline last season. Prucha scored 63 goals in four seasons for New York, including 30 as a rookie in 2005-06. Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski also will return to Madison Square Garden for the first time since being traded from the Rangers to Phoenix in the off-season for forward Enver Lisin. Korpikoski had six goals and eight assists in 68 games for New York in 2008-09, his lone season with the Rangers.
Rangers rookie Michael Del Zotto is co-leading all NHL defenseman and all NHL rookies with 10 points.
"I still have really good memories about this city... I can't wait (to play the game). It's going to be awesome."