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Coyotes start Eastern trip in New Jersey

by Mike G. Morreale /
COYOTES (14-8-6) at DEVILS (8-19-2)


Last 10 -- Phoenix 6-3-1; New Jersey 3-7-0

Season series -- This is the only meeting of the 2010-11 season between these teams. Phoenix defeated the Devils, 4-3, at Arena on Jan. 14, 2010. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov had 31 saves to notch the first victory of his career against the Devils.

Big story -- The struggles of the New Jersey Devils and their prized off-season acquisition, left wing Ilya Kovalchuk, continue. Kovalchuk, who has recorded assists in two of his last three games, still is pressing for more goal production. He has just 2 goals in the last 20 games and hasn't scored an even-strength goal since Oct. 24.

Meanwhile, Zach Parise, who had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee Nov. 2, remains on schedule to return to the lineup by mid-February. He was recently given the go-ahead to remove the leg brace he'd been wearing for almost six weeks.

"(The) doctor said everything looks really good," Parise told the Bergen Record. "I can finally stop wearing the leg brace that was getting real annoying in a hurry. We can start getting the range of motion back now, which will feel a lot better. Unfortunately, it's still a slow process and I won’t be skating for a while."

Team Scope:

Coyotes --
Shane Doan connected for the 35th two-goal game of his career and Keith Yandle tied a career-high with 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) when Phoenix scored a 5-2 victory against the Dallas Stars on Saturday in Glendale to snap a three-game home winless streak. Ray Whitney added a goal and an assist for the Coyotes, who killed six of seven Dallas power plays while receiving a shorthanded goal from Lauri Korpikoski. The Coyotes start a six-game road trip Wednesday in New Jersey. Their next home game isn't until Dec. 28.

Devils -- No one could have predicted this. The Devils, who enter Tuesday's games 14th in the Eastern Conference with 18 points, are on the brink of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1998. The team suffered its fifth loss in a row Saturday, a 4-1 home loss to the Detroit Red Wings. During this five-game winless stretch, New Jersey has scored eight goals -- they've scored just 10 goals in eight games since a 5-0 defeat of the Washington Capitals on Nov. 22.

"I've never experienced this," left wing Patrik Elias said. "It's tough. We try to come into every game with a good mindset. Even if it's really hard, we believe that this is the day, this is the game that we're going to turn it around. It's even more frustrating when we do feel like we're playing OK and we're just not getting the points."

Who's hot -- Yandle's 3 points against the Stars extended his point streak to a career-high four games. He has a goal and 5 assists in that span.

Injury report -- New Jersey forwards Zach Parise (knee) and Jacob Josefson (hand), and defensemen Bryce Salvador (concussion), Mark Fraser (hand) and Matt Taormina (ankle) are on injured reserve. … There are no injuries to report for Phoenix.

Stat pack -- The Devils have five straight regulation losses for the first time since November 2000. They've scored one or fewer in 15 of their first 29 games, and two goals or fewer 23 times. They are averaging a League-low 1.83 goals per game and have a goal differential of minus-35.

Puck drop -- New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur is 4-12-1 this season. He has just one victory since Oct. 29, and he's 1-6-0 in his last seven starts. Brodeur was awarded an assist in a 3-2 loss to Ottawa on Dec. 10, giving him 35 for his career. Carolina goaltending coach Tom Barrasso holds the NHL record with 48 assists. The Coyotes are 7-8-0 against Brodeur, who has produced two shutouts against them in his career.
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