By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will try to extend their road winning streak to six games tonight when they play the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (9-4-3) last played on Tuesday night and beat Toronto, 3-2, in a shootout. After starting the season 0-1-1 away from Glendale, the Coyotes have won five in a row as the road team.
Mike Smith will start in goal for the Coyotes. Smith is 6-0-1 in his past seven starts and ranks seventh in the NHL with a .933 save percentage.
“He's really embraced the No. 1 goaltender role,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “... He's just been a really solid player for us, a leader in the dressing room and his play has been as good as anybody in the league to this point in the season.”
Phoenix has dominated Philadelphia in the recent past having won four of the past five games (4-0-1). The Flyers last beat the Coyotes in regulation on Dec. 5, 2003.
The main storyline surrounding this game is that the Coyotes are facing former goalie Ilya Bryzgalov for the first time since trading his rights to the Flyers in the off-season.
Photo by Getty Images.
Bryzgalov, whom the Coyotes claimed off waivers four years ago today, is the franchise leader in wins (130) and shutouts (21).
Bryzgalov said tonight’s game would be “special.”
“I really appreciate everything they did for me,” said Bryzgalov, who is 4-0-1 in his past five starts. “I wish them the best. I'm really glad they are doing well without me because they deserve it. They work extremely hard. They have beautiful people in that organization -- management and coaches and a good group of guys. I have lots of friends out there.”
Philadelphia (10-4-3), which is 5-0-2 in its last seven games, ranks first in the NHL at 3.82 goals per game.
Flyers center Jaromir Jagr is averaging a point per game through 17 games in his first NHL season since 2007-08, and center Maxime Talbot is leading the NHL in shooting percentage having scored six goals on just 19 shots.
Coyotes center Boyd Gordon has notched four points in the past four games and ranks 14th in the NHL in faceoff efficiency at 55.6 percent.
Flyers right wing Claude Giroux is tied for third in the NHL with 11 goals and tied for fourth with 22 points. He has notched 14 of his 22 points at home.
Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is tied for third among NHL defensemen with four goals in 16 games. Ekman-Larsson entered the season with one goal in 48 games.
Coyotes center Daymond Langkow, who is on a leave of absence because of a death in his family, is not expected to rejoin the team on this road trip.
Tonight's game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona and Money Radio 1510 (AM). A link to the radio broadcast will be provided at phoenixcoyotes.com at 5 p.m. For in-game updates via Twitter, follow @coyotesgameday.