Wild-Phoenix game preview
- February 3, 2013 - 9:23 PM
Preview: The Wild, coming off a 3-1 loss at Anaheim, is winless in three road games (0-2-1). The Wild is 10-10-2 all-time at Phoenix, including winning both games last year. The first -- a 4-1 win -- was the Wild's seventh consecutive victory before beginning a 15-29-8 freefall to finish the season. The Coyotes and G Mike Smith, who went 11-0 last February, shut out Dallas on Saturday.
Players to watch: G Niklas Backstrom is expected to start. He is 11-8 all-time vs. the Coyotes with a 2.12 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. C Kyle Brodziak, without a goal this season, scored three goals against Phoenix last year. RW Dany Heatley has 10 goals and 19 points in 23 games against the Coyotes. Heatley and LW Zach Parise haven't scored in three games. ... Former Wild RW Nick Johnson has three goals in five games. RW Radim Vrbata is fourth in the NHL with six power-play points (leads team with nine overall). D Oliver Ekman-Larsson leads the team in ice time (25:06 a game).
Numbers: The Coyotes are tied for third in the NHL with nine power-play goals and rank third with 33.3 shots per game. They are 102-13-15 under coach Dave Tippett when they score first.
Injuries: Wild D Jared Spurgeon (foot) is out. Coyotes C Matt Lombardi (shoulder) is out, and LW Steve Sullivan (lower body) and D Rostislav Klesla (lower body) are questionable.
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