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Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM
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Minnesota Wild vs. Phoenix Coyotes

The Skinny
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By Dave Vest
GLENDALE – The Coyotes will try to snap out of a funk tonight when they host the Minnesota Wild at Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time).

Phoenix (25-19-9) has lost two games in a row since the NHL resumed play after the All-Star break. The Coyotes were outscored 11-3 in those losses to San Jose and Vancouver and have slipped to eighth place in the Western Conference standings.

The Coyotes worked on defense and puck management at practices the past two days, and Head Coach Dave Tippett has instructed the players to make sure they approach this game with a playoff-game mentality.

“Our mindset is very business-like (and) very workman-like, and that’s what it needs to be right now,” Tippett said after Friday’s practice.

Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to make his 12th consecutive start in goal for the Coyotes, who have lost five home games in a row. Bryzgalov is 1-4-0 in his past five starts and has posted a .886 save percentage in that span.

Defenseman Ed Jovanovski, who missed Wednesday’s game vs. Vancouver because of an upper-body injury, practiced Friday and may play tonight. Center Vernon Fiddler, who has missed the past eight games because of an upper-body injury, also practiced on Friday but will not play. Tippett said Fiddler is getting close to day-to-day status. The Coyotes have posted a 2-6-0 record in the eight games Fiddler has missed.

Photo by Getty Images.
“I definitely want to get back in here and contribute, and I think when I’m healthy I can do that,” Fiddler said.” It’s just a couple of minor things that we’re doing (wrong). We’ve gone through it before, even last year we did it a bit, but it’s only going to make us stronger in the long run.”

Minnesota (27-19-5) has won six of its past seven games and is climbing the Western Conference standings. The Wild, who have beaten the Coyotes two out of three times this season, will enter the game in seventh place.

Niklas Backstrom likely will be in goal for the Wild after watching backup Jose Theodore play Thursday’s game vs. Colorado. Minnesota set a franchise record in that game by scoring twice within the first 61 seconds. It was the quickest that Minnesota, which is celebrating its 10th NHL season, scored two goals to open a game.

The Wild is 16-9-3 since center Pierre-Marc Bouchard made his season debut on Dec. 1.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Fans heading to the game should allow extra travel time because of road work near Arena on Loop 101. Click here for details.
Who's Hot
Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle has notched at least one point in 10 of his past 11 games and ranks first in the NHL among defensemen with 45 points and 36 assists.
Wild Center Mikko Koivu, who has tallied seven points in three games vs. Phoenix this season, has notched 15 points in the past 14 games.
Did You Know?
  • Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle and Wild defenseman Brent Burns played as a defensive pair in Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game for Team Lidstrom.

  • The next game Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov plays will be the 300th game of his NHL career. His record since breaking into the NHL in 2001-02 with Anaheim is 139-110-31.
  • This game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona Plus. Click here to see the channel locator. This game can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM). A link to the radio broadcast will be provided at at 6 p.m.

Click below to listen to Coyotes players talk about about tonight's game.

• Keith Yandle

• Scottie Upshall

  Matt Cullen
  Marco Scandella
  Marek Zidlicky
  Vernon Fiddler
  Ed Jovanovski
  David Schlemko
2010-2011 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 05 '11 MIN 0 at PHX 1 T. Pyatt
Jan 02 '11 PHX 5 at MIN 6 - OT C. Barker
Dec 09 '10 MIN 3 at PHX 2 A. Brunette
Dec 01 '10 PHX 4 at MIN 2 S. Upshall
M. Koivu52143145+73263
M. Havlat52143145+03224
B. Burns50141731-46463
M. Cullen48102131+11841
A. Brunette52141630-51273
A. Miettinen4391524-52042
C. Clutterbuck5114923+43033
K. Brodziak52101020+33210
M. Zidlicky3041620+02220
P. Bouchard2951318+2401
J. Madden507815-8612
N. Schultz4931114+03000
C. Kobasew389413+01501
P. O'Sullivan31268-2400
G. Latendresse8336+2811
E. Nystrom52156-122400
C. Barker43145-102701
C. Stoner30123+93201
G. Zanon52033+52800
B. Staubitz44033-38900
J. Falk19022-2600
M. Scandella16022-5200
J. Spurgeon23011+2200
C. Wellman12011-1400
R. Earl6000-3000
C. Almond5000-1000
M. Kassian4000-11200
C. Gillies3000+0000
W. Peters2000+0200
N. Backstrom3116-12-37410082.39.927
J. Theodore199-7-2495722.68.914
A. Khudobin42-1-05861.59.942
K. Yandle5493645-25020
R. Whitney52102737-51820
S. Doan44112435-64563
L. Stempniak54141529+8820
R. Vrbata51111627-1860
L. Korpikoski54111526+91001
S. Upshall53151025+43622
E. Belanger5471724+02012
T. Pyatt5013821+102326
M. Hanzal4711920-33864
A. Aucoin5221719+163800
K. Turris449817-3601
W. Wolski3661016-61000
M. Rozsival3731215+02601
E. Jovanovski445914+43511
V. Fiddler455813+33601
D. Morris504711-113311
O. Ekman-Larsson3811011+11800
S. Lepisto414610+53100
D. Schlemko25055+11800
M. Boedker9022+1200
P. Bissonnette30101+44900
A. Ebbett11101+0201
B. MacLean2101+0011
N. Yonkman12011+32400
P. Prucha11011+0400
G. Stafford2000+0000
C. Summers2000-3400
I. Bryzgalov4220-14-611013022.67.916
J. LaBarbera156-5-3394433.07.912
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