PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – After losing two straight games, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be looking to secure two points in the standings Monday night against the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Philadelphia Flyers ended the Penguins’ 12-game winning streak on Tuesday to hand Pittsburgh its first regulation loss in over a month. On Wednesday, the New York Rangers exploded for four goals in the third period en route to a 4-1 win.
Despite the losses, Sidney Crosby was able to extend his career-best point streak to 20 games.
Evgeni Malkin returned to the lineup after missing four games with a knee injury and buried all three of the Penguins’ goals during the two losses.
On Monday, the Penguins will be looking to sweep the season series with the Coyotes. On Nov. 6, the Pens won 4-3 in a shootout.
Phoenix is a team still trying to find its identity this season. The Coyotes have been playing better hockey since getting some of their stars back from injury.
Entering Monday’s game, the Coyotes are 15-9-7 with 37 points, but are last in the Pacific Division. However, they are only two points out of second and six out of first with games in hand on three of the other four division rivals.
Phoenix is in the middle of a six-game road trip that has been a bit of a whirlwind.
On Wednesday they were blanked 3-0 by the struggling New Jersey Devils. On Thursday, starting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov woke up with the flu and the team had to bring in an amateur to serve as the backup to Jason LaBarbera.
The Rangers prevailed 4-3 in a shootout in that contest.
On Saturday, Phoenix erased two one-goal deficits in the third period against the New York Islanders and won 4-3 in a shootout.
Captain Shane Doan got off to a sluggish start this season, but has racked up 12 of his 15 points in the last 12 games.
LaBarbera (3-3-1, 2.97 GAA, .918 save percentage) is expected to be in net against the Penguins due to an upper-body injury sustained by Bryzgalov.
While his experience against the Penguins has been limited, LaBarbera is 0-2 with a 5.12 GAA and .841 save percentage.
Marc-Andre Fleury (14-7-1, 2.35 GAA, .914 save percentage) would be the likely candidate to man the pipes for Pittsburgh. He was pulled after allowing two goals on five shots in the first period against the Coyotes on Nov. 6.
Against Phoenix, Fleury is 1-1 with a 2.84 GAA and .885 save percentage.
Crosby has had success against the Coyotes in his career as well. In five games, Crosby has scored two goals and registered five assists.
The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. and can be seen on FSN Pittsburgh.