Published May 02, 2016
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Arizona Coyotes hope to follow up a win with another strong performance when they host the sliding Ottawa Senators in Saturday's battle at Gila River Arena.
The Coyotes have won two of three to begin the month of January and are coming off Thursday's 4-1 triumph over visiting Winnipeg. However, Dave Tippett's club will try to avoid falling into a recent familiar pattern when it takes the ice tonight.
Arizona followed up its previous two victories by losing 6-0 in the following game. The Coyotes lost 6-0 to Dallas on New Year's Eve, two days after beating Philadelphia, then defeated Columbus 6-3 last Saturday only to follow that victory with Tuesday's 6-0 setback against St. Louis.
The Coyotes rebounded from the blowout loss to the Blues on Thursday, when it defeated the Jets to push their record on a six-game homestand to 2-1-0.
Mikkel Boedker and Shane Doan each posted three-point nights to help Arizona subdue the Jets. Boedker finished with two goals and an assist, while Shane Doan added a goal and two helpers.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson also lit the lamp for the Coyotes and Mike Smith was stellar in between the pipes, stopping 34-of-35 shots to earn just his second win since Dec. 1.
"Our goaltender was excellent and our special teams were strong," Tippett said. "We were just way more competitive tonight."
Smith could get the call again on Saturday and owns a 5-3-1 record and 2.93 goals against average in nine career games against Ottawa.
Arizona forward Martin Hanzal is questionable for today's game after missing the last two tests with an upper-body injury. Defenseman Zbynek Michalek also missed Thursday's game with an upper-body issue and is questionable for Saturday.
The Senators have lost their last three games (0-2-1) and will aim for their first win of a four-game road trip. Ottawa has won in three of its last five stops in Arizona, but the Coyotes are 3-1-1 in the last five encounters overall.
Ottawa began its current swing with a shootout defeat Tuesday in Philadelphia before losing 5-2 to the Avalanche on Thursday. The consecutive losses dropped the Sens to 8-11-4 as the visiting team this season.
The Senators sent 38 shots on goal, but Semyon Varlamov frustrated the Ottawa offense by making 36 saves.
Meanwhile, Craig Anderson didn't come close to matching Varlamov's level of play, allowing three goals on just nine chances before being pulled for Robin Lehner just past the midway mark of the second period.
"It was not Andy's fault," Senators forward Mika Zibanejad said of Ottawa's starting goaltender. "We've got to do better with blocking shots and we did not do that (tonight)."
Mark Stone and Bobby Ryan had the Ottawa goals in a losing effort.
Ottawa went 0-for-4 on the power play and hasn't scored in 29 chances with a man advantage over its last eight games. The Senators are ranked 21st in the NHL this season in power-play efficiency.
The Sens will close this trek Tuesday night in Dallas.