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Game Preview: Panthers at Coyotes


The Coyotes are back on the ice tonight after having two days off after splitting their brief two-game road trip in Nashville and Minnesota.  Phoenix faces a Florida Panthers squad that is closing out a four-game road trip.  On the trip, the Panthers have been competitive, but have nothing to show for it in terms of wins.  Can they get salvage the trip with a victory against Phoenix tonight or can the Coyotes continue playing great on their home ice?  Lets take a brief look.

Florida is probably a little better than their 10-14 record would indicate.  So far on this trip, they have lost a 4-3 shootout last week in Tampa Bay.  They rallied from a three-goal deficit against the Ducks, but they ended up losing 5-3 and they blew a third period lead against the Kings on Thursday in Los Angeles.  They could have easily won any of those three games.

Despite being 34, Tomas Vokoun is still a very good goaltender.  He does have a losing record at 9-10, but the Panthers have had a hard time scoring goals for him.  His GAA stands at a very respectable 2.56 and his save percentage stands at nearly 92.  Not too bad for a guy that was suppose to be in the twilight of his career.

Even though the Panthers don’t have an elite goal scorer on their team, they still have a number of guys that you have to keep your eye on.  Michael Frolik and David Booth are the teams leading point guys with 13 a piece.  Bryan McCabe and Dennis Wideman are two of the best scoring defenseman in the league, so Phoenix will have to pay attention to both those guys on the entire night.  Another guy to watch for is Stephen Weiss.  He is off to a bit of a slow start this season, but the former first round pick has had back-to-back 60-point seasons, so you know he wants to turn his season around.

As far as the Coyotes go, Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to be back between the pipes tonight for Phoenix after he struggled in two straight losses.  He has had good career numbers against the Panthers.  Scottie Upshall is looking to continue on with his recent hot streak.  The winger has had four goals in his previous five games.