With the start of a three-game trip looming on Sunday, the Coyotes will play the Carolina Hurricanes at Jobing.com Arena tonight. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (2-2-1) will be looking to build on a 4-2 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday, in which Lee Stempniak
notched the first hat trick of his career and Ilya Bryzgalov
made 28 saves.
Bryzgalov is expected back in net tonight. He likely will be opposed by Carolina’s Cam Ward.
Winger Ray Whitney
, who signed with the Coyotes in the off-season after five seasons with Carolina, will be playing his first game against his former team.
“It will be a little strange being on the other side from guys like Eric Staal and Erik Cole," Whitney said. "It will be weird. I'll be glad when it's done."
Whitney was an alternate captain for the Hurricanes last season, and helped Carolina capture the Stanley Cup in 2005-06, tallying nine goals and six assists in 24 playoff games that season.
After Friday’s practice, Whitney, who has one assist in three games with Phoenix, was asked which of his former teammates he expects to be checked by first in this game.
"I'm not sure," he said. "I've verbally given it to a lot of guys over there, so there might be a lineup for that one. It'll be fun.”
He added, "Listening to Chad LaRose on the other side ... I don't know if it's going be as funny this time when I'm not on the same side."
For the Hurricanes, tonight’s game is the final contest of a seven-game stretch away from their home rink to start the season. After winning two games in Helsinki, Finland, the ‘Canes made stops in Ottawa, Vancouver, San Jose and Los Angeles. Their first game at the RBC Center isn’t until Wednesday.
Carolina (3-3-0) has five players on its roster listed as rookies. They are forwards Drayson Bowman, Zac Dalpe and Jeff Skinner; defenseman Jamie McBain; and goaltender Justin Peters. Skinner is tied for second on the team in scoring with four points (one goal, three assists).
“They've got a young team that's been on a long road trip, and they've had some games they've been very good in, so we're going to have to play very well,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said.
► EDITOR'S NOTE:
to listen to Hurricanes Head Coach Paul Maurice answer questions after Saturday's morning skate.