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Coyotes Begin Eastern Trip Against Islanders

Tuesday, 10.08.2013 / 3:34 PM

NHL.com | Dave Vest

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Coyotes Begin Eastern Trip Against Islanders
Phoenix Coyotes vs. New York Islanders



COYOTES (1-1-0) at ISLANDERS (1-0-1)

Season series: The Phoenix Coyotes and New York Islanders last met on Jan. 7, 2012 in Phoenix when captain Shane Doan's hat trick led the Coyotes to a 5-1 win. Phoenix makes its first trip to Long Island since Dec. 18, 2010.

***NOTE: Tonight's game is being televised by CW6. That's Cox ch. 6; Dish & DirecTV ch. 61; over the air 61.1.

Big story: The Coyotes are in the midst of a daunting challenge to open the season with six of their first eight games on the road. Tuesday night at Nassau Coliseum is the first of four straight games away from home against Eastern Conference opponents.

"It’s going to be a tough swing for us,” Coyotes forward Rob Klinkhammer said. “It’s tough going on the road. There’s a lot of travel, but we’ve got to put that behind us, that’s a factor for everybody. We’ve just got to battle through it and these are important points for us. We’ve got to get out to a quick start, we’ve got to put San Jose behind us but learn from it. We can’t focus on that. These are four huge games and we need these points.”

Team Scope:

Coyotes: Phoenix has started on both sides of 4-1 games with a season-opening win over the New York Rangers followed by Saturday's defeat to the San Jose Sharks during which the Coyotes allowed three goals in the first 13 minutes and were outshot 51-23.

Head Coach Dave Tippett is hoping his team can quickly move past its poor performance on Saturday and establish itself as a good road team.

“If you compete like you should as a team and do things like you should to win games, you can build confidence in your group,” Tippett said. “Getting on the road, there are no distractions. You just have to worry about playing and playing well and getting your team up and going in the year. We’re hoping this road trip does this for us.”

As for the Islanders, Tippett said: "They're a team that looks like they're emerging, with young players who are really trying to become top NHL players. They play with a lot of speed. They've got some good skill, so it'll be a good test for us."

LISTEN: Dave Tippett After Morning Skate.

Goalie Mike Smith has fared well vs. the Islanders in his career. He is 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and a .970 save percentage.

Center Mike Ribeiro is still looking for his first point with the Coyotes. Ribeiro totaled 220 points in 239 games in three seasons playing for Tippett in Dallas.

Defenseman David Rundblad, who notched a team-high seven points in the preseason, also is seeking his first point today, which is his 23rd birthday.

Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano is expecting a the Coyotes to force a fast-paced game.

"They're a great skating team," Capuano told reporters after today's morning skate. "They're quick. They're mobile on the back end. (Keith) Yandle is back there, and they've got a few other guys who really are active. They've got some good experience on their hockey club, and obviously Mike Smith in net who plays the puck extremely well. He's like a third defenseman back there. We've got to be ready to skate. When you play some of these teams, it's like a track meet - you have to keep your feet moving all the time."

Islanders: The Islanders arrived to their home opener last Saturday with the momentum of a shootout win over the New Jersey Devils that kick-started a season filled with optimism after a return to the postseason for the first time since 2006-07. The Isles raced to a 2-0 lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets and were 20 minutes from their first 2-0 start since 2007. Then in a span of 4:19 it fell apart, as the Blue Jackets tied the game en route to a 3-2 shootout victory.

Capuano was disappointed with how the team has failed to respond in crunch time. Against the Devils, the Islanders squandered a 3-2 lead in the third, allowing New Jersey to force overtime.

"We got three out of four points, but we have to be doing whatever it takes,'' Capuano said. "Keep showing a willingness to compete. For the most part we did, but the guys have to learn that you have to play hard every shift."

Who's hot: Despite allowing three goals in the first 13 minutes to the Sharks on Saturday, goalie Mike Smith (1-1, 2.02 goals-against average, .946 save percentage) was perfect the rest of the way and finished with 47 saves. "He played unbelievable," captain Shane Doan said. "It could have been a lot worse, and he played great."  … Islanders captain John Tavares bounced back from a silent opening-night effort to set up both goals against the Blue Jackets. The Isles would not have collected a point Saturday if not for Evgeni Nabokov (1-0-1, 2.31 GAA, .914 save percentage). The veteran goalie made 27 saves, including a few game-savers in overtime, and takes a 4-2-1 record with a 2.21 GAA in his last seven games against Phoenix.

Injury report: Coyotes defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who did not practice on Monday, is expected to play tonight. Defenseman Derek Morris, who left Saturday's game because of an upper-body injury, is not expected to play. Rostislav Klesla (concussion) was given medical clearance to resume contact, but it remains unclear on when he'll be ready to return to action. … Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck (leg laceration) could return as early as Tuesday.

2013-2014 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Dec 12 '13 NYI 3 at PHX 6 M. Ribeiro
Oct 08 '13 PHX 1 at NYI 6 J. Tavares
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
R. Vrbata3314+0011
M. Hanzal3123-1700
O. Ekman-Larsson3112+0200
K. Chipchura3101+1200
Z. Michalek3011+2200
A. Vermette3011+1200
R. Klinkhammer3011+1000
K. Yandle3011+0200
M. Boedker3011-1200
D. Morris2011+1000
D. Moss3000+0000
L. Korpikoski3000+0000
C. Brown3000+01700
D. Schlemko3000-1400
S. Doan3000-2400
M. Ribeiro3000-2400
D. Rundblad3000-2200
L. Lessio3000-2200
M. Stone1000-2000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
M. Smith31-2-09943.40.904
T. Greiss10-0-0183.00.875
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
M. Grabner3246+4000
F. Nielsen3145+3200
J. Tavares3224+1211
J. Bailey3134+3000
L. Visnovsky3112+4210
M. Donovan3112+1210
P. Regin3112-1000
M. Moulson3101+1000
C. McDonald3101+0400
K. Okposo3011+1000
T. Hamonic3011-1200
B. Nelson3011-1200
T. Hickey3000+3000
P. Bouchard3000+0200
B. Strait3000+0000
A. MacDonald3000-1000
M. Martin3000-1000
C. Cizikas3000-1000
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
E. Nabokov32-0-16921.89.935
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