By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will play the middle game of a three-game homestand tonight when they host the New Jersey Devils at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (AZ time).
Phoenix (3-3-2) last played on Tuesday and lost, 3-2 in a shootout, to the Dallas Stars.
Tonight's game vs. New Jersey will be the only meeting between these teams this season. The Coyotes own a 23-7-3-0 home record vs. New Jersey throughout the years. That's the Coyotes/Jets franchise's best home record vs. an Eastern Conference team (minimum 15 games).
Mike Smith will start in goal for the Coyotes, who have been held to four goals during a three-game losing streak at home. Smith has played well during the skid; he has a 1.64 goals-against average in his last three home starts.
Seeking more offensive production, look for Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett to mix up the lines tonight as he did during Tuesday's game vs. Dallas. For instance, captain Shane Doan is expected to play on a line with youngsters MIkkel Boedker and Andy Miele.
New Jersey (4-2-1) enters tonight's game following a 3-0 victory on Tuesday night at Los Angeles. Tonight's game is the third of a four-game trip for the Devils that will end on Saturday in Dallas.
"We know they're going to be a real hardworking team and a well-coached team," Coyotes forward Raffi Torres said. "They will be coming off a win and feeling good about themselves so we're definitely going to have to come out hard and establish the game from the get-go."
Devils left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, who has notched two goals and four assists in seven games, is leading NHL forwards in ice time at 26:29 per game.
Goalie Martin Brodeur, who is recovering from a right shoulder injury he suffered Oct. 13, practiced on Wednesday but is not expected to play. Backup Johan Hedberg, who shut out LA, likely will start in his place.
"It was fun to get back and practice," Brodeur told the Newark Star-Ledger. "I felt pretty good."
Coyotes captain Shane Doan scored his team-high fourth goal of the season and the 300th goal of his NHL career on Tuesday vs. Dallas.
Devils goalie Johan Hedberg stopped all 31 shots he faced for his 18th career shutout on Tuesday vs. LA and is 4-1-1 on the season.
The Coyotes will wear their third (black) sweater tonight. Since its inception, Phoenix has posted a record of 21-8-2 when wearing the black sweater.
Center Andy Miele is the 21st player to wear No. 21 for the Coyotes/Jets franchise, and the first since Shaun Heshka in 2009-10. Shane Doan is the only other player on the roster who’s worn No. 21 (1995-96 season).
Tonight's game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona and on XTRA Sports 910 (AM). A link to the radio broadcast will be provided at phoenixcoyotes.com at 7 p.m.