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Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM
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Thrashers-Coyotes Preview
Atlanta Thrashers vs. Phoenix Coyotes

The Skinny
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By Dave Vest
GLENDALE -- The Coyotes will attempt to up their winning streak to six games tonight when they host the Atlanta Thrashers at Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).

Phoenix (30-19-9) will enter the game in first place in the Pacific Division standings with 69 points, but just one point ahead of San Jose, Anaheim and Dallas. Fifth-place Los Angeles is just two points behind the Coyotes.

Playing solid defense in all three zones has served the Coyotes well during their winning streak, which began after a 6-0 home loss to Vancouver on Feb. 2.

"You have to have good goaltending, you have to have players that are willing to sacrifice to play a hard game and block shots and defend well, and our guys have done a pretty good job of it," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "There were some times this year where I think we got away from it a little bit, but right now our mind-set is pretty strong."

Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov will make his 17th consecutive start for Phoenix. During the winning streak, Bryzgalov has stopped 127 of the 133 shots he has faced. That's an eye-popping .955 save percentage.

After tonight’s game, the Coyotes face a 10-day, five-game trip.

"It's a very important game for us (tonight) because there's a very tough road trip after that one," Tippett said. "... We're winning some games here (and) we've won some close games that pushed us along in the standings, but the last one at home before a long road trip you want to make sure you play well."

Coyotes center Vernon Fiddler has been a force in the faceoff circles since returning from an upper-body injury on Feb. 9. Fiddler has won 28 of 41 draws (68 percent).

Photo by Getty Images.
Atlanta (25-23-10) will enter the game in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings, two points behind eighth-place Carolina.

The Thrashers, who haven't played since Sunday, have won just two of their last 10 games (2-5-3).

Goalie Ondrej Pavelec has compiled a 3.53 goals-against average in his past six starts.

Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who signed a lucrative contract extension this week, leads the Thrashers with 43 points. He also leads all NHL defensemen with 17 goals and ranks third in the NHL, among all skaters, with 242 shots on goal.

"He's a big body, and he shoots it hard, so I'm sure they're telling him with a shot like that, shoot as many times as you can," Tippett said. "He's given their team a different dimension."
Who's Hot
Coyotes left wing Ray Whitney, who has notched one goal and six assists in the past four games, ranks second on the team with 44 points.
Thrashers left wing Evander Kane, the fourth overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, has notched three goals and three assists over the last five games. 
Did You Know?
  • The Coyotes have hosted the Thrashers seven times throughout the years. Phoenix has won six of those games. The other outcome was a 1-1 tie in 2003-04 that ended former Coyotes goalie Brian Boucher's shutout streak at five games.

  • Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin, who is 11 games away from playing in his 1,000th career NHL game, ranks 15th in the NHL in plus/minus rating at plus-19.
  • This game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona Plus. Click here for more information. This game can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM). A link to the radio broadcast will be provided at at 7 p.m.

Click below to listen to members of the Coyotes talk about tonight's game.

• Shane Doan

• Ed Jovanovski

• Dave Tippett

  Alex Burmistrov
  Freddy Meyer
  Fredrik Modin
  Jim Slater
  David Schlemko
2010-2011 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 17 '11 ATL 3 at PHX 4 M. Hanzal
D. Byfuglien59172744-15176
T. Enstrom5383644+33250
A. Ladd58202343-73151
E. Kane50161834-15242
R. Peverley59142034-163562
B. Little53141933+92921
A. Stewart59141832+24752
N. Bergfors48111829-8631
N. Antropov53101828-82841
A. Burmistrov5751217-12302
C. Thorburn597916+24720
J. Oduya5921315-141800
J. Slater365712+41901
Z. Bogosian484711-172101
F. Modin347310-111200
B. Eager343710+47701
E. Boulton49538+04501
R. Hainsey59178+01200
B. Sopel58257+71600
P. Cormier21112-5400
F. Meyer15112-7800
T. Stapleton22011-7800
N. Dawes9011-6000
S. Machacek6000-2000
N. Welch2000-1000
A. Kulda2000-2200
O. Pavelec4518-17-811213962.63.920
C. Mason197-7-2605533.78.892
P. Mannino20-0-05364.11.861
K. Yandle5994150+25420
R. Whitney57113445-31830
S. Doan49122739-34763
R. Vrbata56151833+01482
L. Stempniak59141630+8820
L. Korpikoski59121628+121401
S. Upshall58161127+63822
E. Belanger5981725+22212
T. Pyatt54141024+92326
M. Hanzal52131023-24065
A. Aucoin5621719+194000
K. Turris469918-2601
W. Wolski3661016-61000
M. Rozsival4241216+12611
V. Fiddler496814+53802
E. Jovanovski475914+33711
D. Morris554812-94211
S. Lepisto464711+73700
O. Ekman-Larsson4111011+22000
D. Schlemko25055+11800
M. Boedker13123+2400
P. Bissonnette34101+45100
A. Ebbett13101+0201
B. MacLean2101+0011
N. Yonkman12011+32400
P. Prucha11011+0400
G. Stafford2000+0000
C. Summers2000-3400
I. Bryzgalov4725-14-611914462.57.918
J. LaBarbera156-5-3394433.07.912
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