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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes
Phoenix at Boston
Coyotes-Bruins Preview

GAME: Phoenix Coyotes (15-12-2) at Boston Bruins (10-15-5).

TIME: Sunday, 5 p.m. EST.

Ladislav Nagy and the Phoenix Coyotes look to win three straight games for the first time this season when they visit the struggling Boston Bruins.

Phoenix won for the fourth time in five games Monday, 5-2 over the Atlanta Thrashers. With the score tied at 2-2 early in the third period, Nagy found Mike Johnson, who lifted a wrist shot from the right corner of the crease for his second goal of the game.

Nagy finished with two assists, and has eight goals and 12 assists in his last 11 games.

"He's one of the most talented players in the world," Johnson said of Nagy. "He's nice to play with. You can leave him by himself because he's so strong he's able to fight off his defender. You just need to find some open ice. He's given me more goals than I've scored."

Nagy has assisted on five of Johnson's nine goals this season, including three in the last two games.

"There's an obvious chemistry between Nagy and Johnson," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. "Nagy was under the magnifying glass a bit and was probably pressing at the beginning of the year. But he came in and talked and said he was going to play his way out of it and to his credit he's done that."

The Coyotes, 10-4-1 since Nov. 3, are beginning a stretch of four games in seven days.

The Bruins, meanwhile, have dropped two straight and 11 of their last 14 after a 4-1 loss at Colorado on Wednesday. Boston gave away too many pucks in its own zone, lost the battles along the boards and took penalties at inopportune times.

"It's a different day, same story," said Bruins goaltender Andrew Raycroft, who has allowed 15 goals in his last four games. "There's not a lot to say, positive anyway."

Boston hopes to get a boost from leading scorer Sergei Samsonov, who's expected to be in the lineup after experiencing numbness and tingling in his hands and fingers last Sunday morning.

The Bruins, though, will be without defenseman Nick Boynton for four to six weeks after he fractured a kneecap last Sunday against Vancouver.

"I'm a little bit surprised because it was feeling better," Boynton said. "Who knows? Maybe it's not as bad as it sounds. It's very frustrating, but that's the way it goes."

STANDINGS (through Dec. 9): Coyotes - 32 points, 3rd place, 5 PB, Pacific Division. Bruins - 25 points, 5th place, 18 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Coyotes - Nagy, 11 goals, 20 assists and 31 points; Sean O'Donnell, 59 PIM. Bruins - Samsonov and Glen Murray, 12 goals; Samsonov and Brad Boyes, 13 assists; Samsonov, 25 points; Jiri Slegr, 46 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 9): Coyotes - Power play: 19.7 percent (38 for 193), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.5 percent (145 for 178), 21st. Bruins - Power play: 17.9 percent (31 for 173), 15th. Penalty killing: 82.6 percent (157 for 190), 12th.

GOALTENDERS: Coyotes - Curtis Joseph (13-7-0, 2 SO, 2.21 GAA); David LeNeveu (2-5-0, 3.20). Bruins - Raycroft (4-12-0, 3.47); Hannu Toivonen (6-3-0, 1, 3.15).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: 0-0-1.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 30, 2003; 3-3. At Boston, Shane Doan scored with 1:08 left in regulation to lift Phoenix to the tie.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Coyotes - 6-7-1 on the road; Bruins - 5-6-1 at home.

Phoenix Coyotes Radio Color Analyst Louie DeBrusk sat down with to offer his keys to the game for Sunday's match up with the Boston Bruins.

1. Got to play physical. As with all Eastern conference teams the Coyotes have played so far this season, the Bruins are going to be throwing the body around and Phoenix needs to respond.

2. Come out of the gates quickly. After a five-day layoff, the Coyotes need to get the legs moving early and get an early goal to get back into the swing.

3. Discipline. The Coyotes don't need to run and gun with the Bruins. They need to stick with the hard forecheck, cycle the puck, and create chances from the corners. They also need to stay away from offense zone penalties.

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