By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will look to avenge one of their most heartbreaking losses of the season tonight when they host the Philadelphia Flyers at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (13-8-3) dropped a 2-1 decision to former goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and the Flyers on Nov. 17 after rookie Matt Read scored the tiebreaking goal with just 18.6 seconds left in regulation.
The big story surrounding this game is the return of former Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to Jobing.com Arena for the first time since leaving via trade, although it’s unclear if Bryzgalov will play in this game after playing in Philadelphia’s 4-3 overtime win at Anaheim on Friday. Flyers Head Coach Peter Laviolette does not announce his goaltender before games. If Bryzgalov does play it would be the first time this season he played both games of back-to-back games.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett, who played one season for the Flyers in 1993-94, shrugged off the return of Bryzgalov storyline.
"We played him once already. It's been there, done that," Tippett said. "I'm sure any time a player leaves and comes back, there's lots of hoopla about it. I'm not sure how (the fans) will treat him. We'll see."
will start in goal for the Coyotes. Smith has allowed just two goals in his past three starts and has stopped 80 of 82 shots in those games.
The Coyotes were shut out for the fourth time this season on Thursday night at Winnipeg and will be looking to break out of that funk tonight.
Center Kyle Turris
is expected to be back in the lineup after making his season debut on Thursday night at Winnipeg. Turris took a team-high four shots on goal in just under 12 minutes of ice time. He also won all six of his faceoffs.
Phoenix has played sound defensive hockey all season and has excelled at penalty killing. The Coyotes, who are the least penalized team in the NHL, will enter tonight’s game ranked third in the NHL in killing penalties at 89.5 percent overall and 90.9 percent on home ice. The club has not allowed a power-play goal at home since Oct. 25 vs. Dallas.
|Photo by Getty Images.
The Flyers (14-7-3) will enter the game less than 24 hours after rallying from a 3-0 deficit to beat Anaheim, 4-3 in overtime, at the Honda Center on Friday night.
Forward Claude Giroux scored a power-play goal with 91 seconds left in overtime to give the Flyers their NHL-best eighth road win of the season.
Bryzgalov stopped 19 of 22 shots in that game to earn his ninth win of the season. If he doesn’t play tonight, the Coyotes will face Sergei Bobrovsky, who last played Nov. 26.
Led by Giroux (14 goals and 17 assists), the Flyers average 3.50 goals per game, which is tops among the NHL’s 30 teams. Giroux has been named the First Star of the Game six times this season; all other Flyers have combined to earn that honor eight times this year.
The Flyers, who rank 19th in the League in goals against average (2.92), are playing minus captain Chris Pronger, who is on the injured reserve list because of a knee injury.