Shane Doan will be equipped with a microphone for the Arizona Coyotes’ next game, which is something the team might have given a second thought before allowing in previous months’ home games.
The Coyotes, though, haven’t had as much of a need for choice words while winning five of six at home, a run of success they could very well extend Saturday against the reeling Ottawa Senators.
Arizona (16-20-4) was 4-8-2 on home ice prior to the recent span, which includes Thursday’s 4-1 win over Winnipeg on the third date of a six-game homestand. The loss on this stay – 6-0 to St. Louis on Tuesday – felt like a return to early December.
"The challenge was to be better and have a little bit of pride," Doan said after recording a goal and two assists in the win over the Jets. "It was embarrassing last game at home."
Doan will be wearing a microphone Saturday to enhance the local Fox Sports affiliate’s broadcast, and he might be in a celebratory mood if his teammates can keep producing the way they have.
Mikkel Boedker had two goals and an assist Thursday, while Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored his eighth goal in 16 games. His 11 for the season are among the most in the league among defensemen.
Antoine Vermette added two assists and had three goals and two assists in two games last season against Ottawa, his former team, which could use some offensive help.
The Senators (16-16-8), making a third stop on a four-game road trip, have dropped three straight while scoring five goals after Thursday’s 5-2 loss at Colorado.
"Just put your head down and get to the net," coach Dave Cameron told the team’s official website. "It hasn’t been a matter of not having enough good offense, it’s just a matter of getting dirty, getting in there and getting different shots, getting sticks on pucks. I need some of my bigger guys to play bigger."
That also applies on the power play, where Ottawa is 0 for 29 over the last eight games. Arizona’s penalty kill was 7 for 7 against the Jets, but it ranks 29th in the league at 75.2 percent.
The little offense Cameron’s club has produced lately has often come from Bobby Ryan, who scored for the fifth time in as many games against the Avalanche.
The Senators’ scoring struggles could be a bonus for Mike Smith. The Arizona goaltender is seeking some sort of consistency after making 34 saves against Winnipeg. Including that game, Smith is 2-5-0 with a 4.25 goals-against average over his last eight contests.
Craig Anderson will be back in net for Ottawa after allowing three goals on nine shots against the Avalanche before being pulled. He’s otherwise been impressive lately with a 1.98 GAA on a 4-2-2 stretch.
"We’re all human, we all make mistakes," said Anderson, who has dropped seven of his last eight games against Arizona. "You’re not going to be at your best every single night. Clearly I wasn’t at my best. It happens."
Senators forward Mark Stone will face brother and Arizona defenseman Michael Stone for the first time in the NHL. Mark has scored in two of his last three games and recalls facing his brother in juniors and the AHL.
"Every time there was an event somebody was going home (ticked) off," Mark said. "I’m sure it will be the same on Saturday night."
Ottawa forward Milan Michalek won’t face his brother, Arizona defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who won’t return from an upper-body injury that sidelined him against the Jets.
Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal (upper body) will miss a third straight game.
The clubs split two games last season, with each visiting team winning 4-3 in overtime.