By Anthony Perez | Dave Vest
The Coyotes, aka the NHL's hottest team, will try to extend their winning streak to eight games tonight against the Anaheim Ducks at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time).
The Coyotes (11-5-5) last played on Tuesday when they beat Edmonton 5-0 on home ice.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett, who gave the players rare back-to-back days off this week, said the team is eager to resume playing games.
“Guys were energized,” Tippett said after Friday's practice. “We looked at the schedule we had been on the last couple of weeks here and just decided two days would hopefully be really good for our club, and we came out and had a real spirited hour, so hopefully that bodes well for (Saturday).”
While Phoenix currently sits in first place in the Pacific Division, only four points separate them and the last-place Ducks.
“We’ve got to keep going and keep trying to give ourselves the best chance going forward," forward Lee Stempniak
said. "The points you pick up now are so valuable (later) so you’re not clawing for that point or coming up short because you’ve run out of games. The more points we get now the better position we’ll be in at the end of the year.”
The lengthy break from games this week has enabled the Coyotes to get healthy. Center Kyle Turris
and defensemen Ed Jovanovski
and Adrian Aucoin
, all of whom missed Tuesday's game vs. Edmonton because of health issues, are expected to return to the lineup against Anaheim.
Defenseman Keith Yandle
left the ice during Friday’s practice because of a facial cut that required stitches to close, but he’s expected to be ready for tonight’s game.
|Photo by Getty Images.
will start in goal for the Coyotes against his former team, which features three forwards - Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne and Ryna Getzlaf - who have notched 20 or more points this season.
“They’ve got skilled players,” Jovanovski said. “They’re a bigger team, but it’s our building and we've got to do a lot of the similar things that we’ve been doing of late to make us be successful.”
While the Coyotes have been red hot, the Ducks (10-11-3) have been ice cold. On Friday they lost to Chicago, 4-1, for their sixth straight defeat.
“They’re hungry,” Tippett said. “We got ourselves kind of in that pack. There’s a lot of good teams, so we have to keep ourselves going.”
to watch Tippett's entire press conference after Friday's practice.