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Surging Coyotes end trip vs. Hurricanes

by Tal Pinchevsky /

COYOTES (3-2-0) at HURRICANES (2-1-2)


Season series: The Phoenix Coyotes and Carolina Hurricanes are meeting for the first time since Dec. 21, 2011, a game the Coyotes won 4-3 thanks in large part to goaltender Jason LaBarbera's 34 saves.

Carolina has won three of these teams' last five meetings, dating back to the 2008-09 season. They will face off one more time this season in Phoenix on Dec. 14.

Big story: Both clubs have already seen highs and lows early in the 2013-14 season. Phoenix started off their current season-long five-game road trip with a 4-1 loss in San Jose against the Sharks and a 6-1 dismantling at the hands of the New York Islanders. But they've rolled off consecutive wins since then and are looking to finish their trip on a high note. Carolina has alternated wins and losses through its first five games, including a 2-1 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.

Team Scope:

Coyotes: After losing consecutive games by a combined score of 10-2, the Coyotes' season appeared to be headed for a rocky start before the team swept back-to-back road games against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday and the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday.

They did it the way the Coyotes have always won under coach Dave Tippett: with timely scoring, airtight defense and strong goaltending. That was certainly the case in Philadelphia on Friday night, as Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored a highlight-reel goal with 12 seconds remaining in the second period and Thomas Greiss made 36 saves, including 10 in the third period, in his first start of the season.

"How calm did [Greiss] look in there? He was so calm and relaxed and did a great job. We're fortunate to have great goaltending," captain Shane Doan said. "We've had great goaltending here the last few years. We count on that big time and he just stepped in and that was unbelievable."

Hurricanes: With the exception of a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, the Hurricanes have played teams close every game so far this season. Both their victories were by a single goal and their other two contests were a 3-2 overtime loss to the Red Wings on opening night and a 2-1 shootout loss to the Kings on Friday. Even the game against Pittsburgh was tied 2-2 after Nathan Gerbe scored early in the third period before the Penguins scored three straight.

This meeting against the Coyotes should be another closely-contested affair. The Hurricanes will need to find a way to score against a Phoenix team that has allowed 10 goals in their two losses -- and four goals in their three wins.

"I thought it was a really gutsy effort for our guys," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said after the game against L.A. "I think that's a game that shows our team is growing together. We didn't get the extra point, but three out of four is pretty good."

Who's hot: Coyotes center Martin Hanzal is on a three-game point streak and leads the team with five points in five games. Defenseman Derek Morris has three points in his past two games. … Jeff Skinner has three points in his past two games and leads Carolina with six points in five games. Gerbe is enjoying a three-game point streak in which he has two goals.

Injury report: Phoenix has no injured players. … Center Elias Lindholm left the game against L.A. and is questionable for the Hurricanes while defensemen Tim Gleason (concussion) and Joni Pitkanen (broken heel) are out.

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