(Photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)
The Arizona Coyotes can record a winning road trip if they can finally end their recent struggles against the surging Winnipeg Jets.
Looking to win consecutive road contests for the first time this season, the Coyotes also will try to halt a seven-game losing streak against the Jets, who will aimfor their sixth victory in seven games overall on Saturday.
Arizona won just seven games away from home last season, the lowest total in the NHL, but is currently 4-4-2 on the road. After opening their current five-game road stretch with a 2-1 loss at St. Louis on Nov. 9, the Coyotes have gone 2-0-1. On Thursday at Columbus, Barrett Hayton tied the score at 1-1 in the second period, Logan Cooley and Lawson Crouse scored in the third and Connor Ingram made 39 saves during a 3-2 victory.
"Good, resilient game for us," Arizona coach Andre Tourigny said. "The big game will be against (Winnipeg), no doubt about it. ... We need to show character again."
The Coyotes will be without Hayton, a center who slated to miss four to six weeks after sustaining an upper-body injury on Thursday. However, star Clayton Keller will be on the ice after extending his point streak to five games with an assist against the Blue Jackets.
Keller was held without a point during Arizona's 5-3 home loss to Winnipeg on Nov. 4. Crouse, who has scored a goal in two straight games, recorded one goal and one assist in that contest. However, the Coyotes blew a 2-0 edge and allowed the Jets to score the final three goals and continue their recent dominance in the series.
Arizona is mired in an 0-5-2 rut versus Winnipeg, but each game has been decided by one or two goals. The Jets have won the past three against the Coyotes at home, where they just claimed back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Winnipeg beat the New Jersey Devils 6-3 on Tuesday, then edged the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Friday.
The Jets are 8-2-2 since losing three of their first four.
"We've been playing really well," Winnipeg defenseman Josh Morrissey said. "You know, just sticking to our structure, letting our skill and individual abilities come out throughout the game.
"There has been a lot of good things. We just want to keep that going."
Kyle Connor's four-game point streak, which featured seven goals and four assists, ended Friday. Connor also has failed to register a point in five consecutive games vs. Arizona.
However, teammate Nikolaj Ehlers has scored three of his five goals in the last two games. Nino Niederreiter, who recorded a hat trick against the Coyotes this month, notched two assists on Friday.
Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck made 26 saves on Friday for his eighth win in 13 starts. Hellebuyck stopped 22 shots at Arizona earlier this month, but Laurent Brossoit (1-1-1, 3.25 GAA) could make his fourth start of the season, and first since Nov. 9, in the back-to-back scenario.
Arizona's Karel Vejmelka stopped 22 of 27 shots against the Jets on Nov. 4. Ingram has been the Coyotes' early star, going 6-1-0 with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.
--Field Level Media