By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will try to get back to winning ways tonight when they play their fourth consecutive road game vs. the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (9-5-3) last played Thursday night at Philadelphia and lost 2-1.
will start in goal for the Coyotes. Smith, who has started Phoenix's past five games, is 3-3-1 with a 2.92 goals-against average in eight games vs. Buffalo in his career.
Tonight’s game is a homecoming, of sorts, for Coyotes winger Taylor Pyatt
, who played 230 games for the Sabres from 2001-06. It will also be a milestone night for Pyatt as he plays in his 700th NHL game.
The Coyotes will be looking to snap out of a power-play funk in which they’ve gone 0 for 11 in the past four games. That will be challenging considering the Sabres rank third in the NHL at killing penalties at 90.0 percent. The Coyotes, meanwhile, rank fifth at 87.9 percent.
Phoenix also will be looking to snap a five-game losing streak (0-4-1) vs. Buffalo. The Sabres have outscored the Coyotes, 18-5, during that stretch. Phoenix last defeated Buffalo on Jan. 21, 2008.
|Photo by Getty Images.
The Sabres (12-7-0) will enter the game less than 24 hours after defeating Carolina, 1-0, in Raleigh on Friday night.
Goalie Jhonas Enroth, who has taken over after Ryan Miller suffered a concussion against Boston last Saturday, could be back in net after stopping all 34 shots he faced on Friday to improve to 7-1-0 with a 1.95 goals-against average.
The Sabres, of course, are led by Lindy Ruff, who was named head coach on July 21, 1997. Since then, there have been 164 coaching changes in the NHL. Ruff is the second-longest tenured coach in the four major professional sports leagues. Only Gregg Popovich, who began coaching the San Antonio Spurs in 1996, has been head coach of his team longer.