By Dave Vest
RALEIGH, N.C. –
The Coyotes begin a four-game trip through the Southeast Division tonight with a game against the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (40-22-5), which ranks fourth in the Western Conference standings with 85 points, will enter the game with a three-game winning streak. Despite all three wins coming on home ice, Head Coach Dave Tippett is glad his team is on the road for a week. The game is simplified on the road, Tippett says, and he wants the five new players the Coyotes acquired at the trade deadline to have a chance to better bond with their new teammates.
Captain Shane Doan
“To be on the road together in the same hotel with the new guys will be great for us,” Doan said. “Plus, it’s been a while since we’ve been on the road and we want to prove to ourselves that we can win consistently on the road.”
is expected to start in goal for the Coyotes, who are 0-2-0 vs. teams from the Southeast Division this season.
Phoenix will enter the game ranked 30th in the NHL in power-play efficiency at 14.7 percent.
“We’re not smooth with the puck right now,” Tippett said. “I think we’ve got to simplify a little bit and get pucks to the net and see if we can create some opportunities off that.”
Carolina (28-31-8) is one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now. The Hurricanes are 13-3-1 in their past 17 games and have won eight consecutive home games.
“They have played great hockey as of late,” Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris
said. “When you look at the teams they’re beating, they’re not winning by luck. They’re working real hard.”
The Hurricanes beat defending champion Pittsburgh, 4-3, in overtime on Thursday. On Wednesday, they earned one point in an overtime loss at Washington, the only NHL team that has clinched a playoff berth.
“They are a team that I don’t think is going to make the playoffs so they’re playing very loose,” Tippett said. “They’ve got some good young players and some veteran guys who are playing well. If you watch their games you see they are very competitive.”
Tonight's game will be shown on tape delay on Fox Sports Arizona at 8:30 p.m. (Arizona time).