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Panthers-Coyotes Preview @NHLdotcom
Panthers-Coyotes Preview

GAME: Florida Panthers (18-22-7) at Phoenix Coyotes (22-22-2).

TIME: Thursday, 9 p.m. EST.

The Phoenix Coyotes will try to bounce back from one of their worst defeats this season and stay above .500 as they play the Florida Panthers in the second of a three-game homestand.

The Coyotes were routed 6-1 Monday by the Washington Capitals, matching their worst margin of defeat this season. They also lost 6-1 Nov. 30 at Anaheim and 7-2 Jan. 10 at Ottawa.

Shane Doan had Phoenix's lone goal against Washington, scoring on a first-period power play. The Coyotes were denied their first three-game winning streak since Dec. 3-11 and have lost five of their last seven games overall.

"It's a pretty low period right now," Coyotes defenseman Paul Mara said. "We had two fantastic games versus Buffalo and Toronto, and to come down ... with that type of performance (against the Capitals) is unexplainable."

Florida has lost four of its past six games after a season-best three-game win streak to close out 2005.

The Panthers have been idle since a 5-4 overtime loss Saturday to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Florida squandered a two-goal first-period lead, but salvaged a point when Nathan Horton scored with 47 seconds to play in regulation.

Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo made 18 saves but gave up three third-period goals.

"The goalies shouldn't have been the difference in the game," Panthers center Joe Nieuwendyk said. "They just chipped away and got back into it."

STANDINGS: Panthers - 43 points, 4th place, 23 PB, Southeast Division. Coyotes - 46 points, 5th place, 16 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Panthers - Olli Jokinen, 21 goals, 28 assists and 49 points; Chris Gratton, 63 PIM. Coyotes - Ladislav Nagy, 15 goals, 33 assists and 48 points; Sean O'Donnell, 102 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Panthers - Power play: 15.4 percent (37 for 240), 24th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.9 percent (248 for 299), 13th. Coyotes - Power play: 18.0 percent (55 for 306), 13th. Penalty killing: 78.9 percent (228 for 289), 28th.

GOALTENDERS: Panthers - Luongo (18-18-7, 2 SO, 3.03 GAA); Jamie McLennan (0-4-0, 0, 3.10). Coyotes - Curtis Joseph (17-12-0, 2, 2.69); Brian Boucher (3-5-0, 0, 4.01).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 4, 2004; Panthers, 5-4 (OT). At Glendale, Ariz., Jokinen scored his second goal of the game 3:22 into overtime, capping Florida's rally from a two-goal deficit.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Panthers - 5-16-4 on the road; Coyotes - 11-10-1 at home.

Associated Press

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