By Dave Vest
One lengthy winning streak will be extended and one will end Monday night when the Coyotes host the Minnesota Wild at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (17-11-1) has won four games in a row. Minnesota (13-12-3) has won five straight.
"We won last night but I wasn't real happy with the way we played," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said Sunday, about 12 hours after his team's 3-2 triumph over Ottawa. "We're going to have to play much better... We had some soft plays here and there... I think our team is better than that."
Tippett also noted that his team's lack of a killer instinct - it led Ottawa by three goals in the third period - disturbed him.
Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
will make his 10th consecutive start for the Coyotes, who are giving up just 2.34 goals against per game. During the winning streak, Phoenix's four opponents have scored just seven goals.
Captain Shane Doan
leads the Coyotes with 18 points, but he has scored just two goals in the past 12 games. In Saturday's win, Doan played a season-low 15:51.
"I'll be better," Doan said after Sunday's practice at the Alltel Ice Den in Scottsdale. "I don't think I'm playing very well right now, and I know that when I'm not playing well that it always goes back to working hard. I'll just work my way out of this."
Minnesota started the season 3-9-0 under new Head Coach Todd Richards but has posted a 10-3-3 record since then.
The turnaroud has not surprised Tippett.
"They've got some pretty skilled players," Tippett said. "I look at (Mikko) Koivu as a top centerman. He makes other people around him better. I had Eric Belanger when I was (a coach) in LA and he's a good, solid player. They've got some people that are capable there. You look at that whole situation there and you have to chalk it up to an adjustment period."
Under Richards, the Wild are playing a more offensive-minded game than in past years, and goals are coming in bunches lately - 23 in the past five games.
"We're rolling and we have to keep roilling because we're still out of the playoffs," Belanger told reporters after Saturday's 5-3 victory over Nashville. "It's confidence. There's stability with the lines. Everybody's contributing."