Coyotes back in Winnipeg in search of 4th straight win in Canada

BY foxsports • November 21, 2015

Never in the NHL history of the Arizona Coyotes franchise has the club opened a season with four straight victories in Canadian cities.

The Coyotes can change that by halting their struggles in the place it all began Saturday night against the Winnipeg Jets.

After opening a four-game trip with consecutive 5-2 losses to Columbus and the New York Islanders, Arizona (10-8-1) won 3-2 at Montreal on Thursday. The Coyotes, who have recorded all but three of their victories away from home, have also won at Ottawa and Toronto.

The Coyotes franchise, which made its NHL debut in Winnipeg for the 1979-80 season, also won its first three in Canada in 1981 before falling at Vancouver. If the Coyotes are to make team history this weekend, they must snap a four-game skid at Winnipeg to these Jets (9-9-2).

Arizona has come close while losing in a shootout in the last two visits, and has some momentum following a strong effort against the Canadiens.

"I was hoping we'd play well," coach Dave Tippett said. "We haven't played well for a couple of games and I was hoping we'd come in and have a really solid effort and we did.

"I liked our speed. We played the game fast. That's the team we're trying to become."

Shane Doan scored his fifth, Mike Smith made 31 saves and the Coyotes killed all five penalties after their previous two opponents went 3 for 8 with the man advantage.

Doan had a goal and five assists in three games last season against Winnipeg, the city where his career began in 1995-96.

"It's a place you never forget," he said.

The Jets franchise, which has won six of seven overall against Arizona and earned at least one point in the last seven home matchups dating to when it played in Atlanta, snapped a six-game skid with Wednesday's 4-1 victory over Vancouver.

"There's ebbs and flows to a hockey season," forward Drew Stafford told the NHL's official website. "If you stick with it long enough, sooner or later you'll get a break and things will swing."

Looking for a spark after Winnipeg scored 10 goals and was shut out twice in the previous six contests, coach Paul Maurice paired Stafford with Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault. It paid off as Scheifele and Stafford each had two goals with an assist and Perreault recorded three assists.

"It's always awesome playing with Matty and, obviously, me and Staff have played a lot together, too," said Scheifele, who snapped a six-game point drought. "We were moving the puck well, we were on the forecheck hard.

"Obviously, it's the first game. We still can do better, and hopefully we can build off that."

Winnipeg scored its first power-play goal in four games Wednesday, but is 4 for 40 in the last 14.

Though opponents have converted 31.6 percent (6 of 19) of their chances with the man advantage over the last four games, the Jets displayed some solid defense Wednesday after yielding an average of 4.3 goals during the slide.

Ondrej Pavelec made 29 saves after allowing four goals in each of his previous three games. He's 4-0-0 with a 1.44 goals-against average against the Coyotes in Winnipeg.

Arizona defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has three goals and three assists during a career-high seven-game point streak. He has four goals with an assist in his last six against Winnipeg.

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