By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will play the final game of a four-game trip to Atlantic Division rinks tonight when they square off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Consol Energy Center. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time).
Photo by Getty Images.
Phoenix (15-9-7) will enter the game fresh off a dramatic 4-3 shootout victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday night that upped its record to 1-1-1 on this trip.
will make his third consecutive start tonight in place of Ilya Bryzgalov
, who has returned to Phoenix to have an upper-body injury examined by team doctors.
"LaBarbera has been a very good player for us over the last two years," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said after Monday's morning skate. "Whenever he's gotten the chance to play, he's played very well. Both guys play a very simliar style so our team doesn't have to react different to either guy."
LaBarbera, who made a season-high 41 saves vs. the Islanders, is 0-2-0 with a 5.12 goals-against average in three career games versus Pittsburgh.
The Coyotes will be looking to avenge a 4-3 shootout loss to the Penguins on Nov. 6 in Glendale. Phoenix played that game minus captain Shane Doan
and alternate captain Ed Jovanovski
. Both will play in tonight's rematch.
Pittsburgh (21-10-2) has lost two games in a row after posting 12 consecutive wins. Tonight's game will be the first of six in the next 10 days for the Penguins.
Center Sidney Crosby, who leads the NHL in both goals (26) and points (54), has a career-high 20-game point streak going, but he has not registered a shot on goal in the past two games.
"Even though you get points, sometimes you don't always play the greatest," Crosby told reporters. "The last few games, I haven't really been too happy. ... I've got to be better."
Crosby's streak is the second-longest since the lockout behind Dany Heatley’s 22-game streak from Oct. 5 to Nov. 29, 2005.
The Coyotes will return to Phoenix after this game but just for one day of practice. On Wednesday, the team will head to San Jose to play the fifth game of a six-game stretch of road games on Thursday night.