Rangers continue road trip versus Coyotes

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers try to remain unbeaten on their current road trip Saturday night as they visit the Arizona Coyotes.

The Rangers have won the first two of a four-game swing that ends with a big matchup against the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders on Monday. First, they'll try to maintain their recent success versus the Coyotes, having won four of five and nine of the past 12 meetings.

New York, though, did lose 4-1 in its last trip to the desert on Oct. 3, 2013.

The Rangers are coming off a solid 6-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. Kevin Hayes had a goal and two assists, while Carl Hagelin had a big go-ahead goal in the third period after the Avalanche tied things up with two quick goals.

"Obviously it gave us momentum," Hagelin said of his goal. "It was a tough 10 minutes. We were soft and they had room to skate."

Rick Nash scored his NHL-leading 34th goal of the season and Dan Boyle, Mats Zuccarello and Ryan McDonagh also lit the lamp for the Rangers, who won for the fifth time in seven games. Zuccarello has four goals and five assists over a seven-game point streak, the longest of his career.

Cam Talbot made 26 saves in his fifth straight start in place of injured starter Henrik Lundqvist. Talbot has never before faced the Coyotes.

New York is third in the Metro, one point ahead of Washington and three back of the second-place Pittsburgh Penguins. The Capitals are also in action on Saturday as they visit the Los Angeles Kings.

The Rangers will try to both improve their playoff chances and give head coach Alain Vigneault the 500th victory of his career. That milestone win would tie him with Toe Blake for 20th on the NHL's all-time list.

The Coyotes hope to prevent Vigneault from reaching that plateau tonight and snap a six-game home losing streak in the process. Arizona saw that home slide extended on Friday night with a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Mike Smith made 22 saves for the Coyotes, who haven't won at home since Jan. 8 and have dropped two straight as well as four of their past five overall.

"I thought we created some chances. I think we're going to get better as we go along," Coyotes center Sam Gagner said. "We have to continue to find ways to create offense."

Mark Arcobello, claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh on Wednesday, scored his ninth goal of the season in his debut with Arizona. He also became the third player in NHL history to see action with four different teams in one season, having also played for Edmonton and Nashville in 2014-15.

Martin Erat scored in defeat as well.

Smith is 5-6-2 lifetime versus the Rangers with a 2.56 goals against average and .911 save percentage in 14 meetings, while backup Mike McKenna has faced them just once before in a relief appearance.