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Penguins Vs. Coyotes: Two Struggling Teams Face Off In Phoenix

Sports Network | November 6, 2010


(Sports Network) - The Penguins' power-play drought may be over, but their recent struggles on the ice are not. Pittsburgh will try to avoid a third straight loss both overall and to the Phoenix Coyotes in this evening's matchup at Arena.

The Penguins got their four-game road trip off to a good start with a shut-out win over Carolina last Saturday, but have since dropped tests in Dallas and Anaheim to give the club losses in five of six.

Despite two goals from Sidney Crosby last night, the first of his career versus the Ducks that snapped a five-game goal-scoring drought, Pittsburgh suffered a 3-2 setback to Anaheim. Crosby's first goal came on the power play late in the second period to snap his club's 0-for-29 slide on the man advantage.

Kris Letang assisted on both Crosby goals and Marc-Andre Fleury made just 16 saves in net.

"We came out and we played physical tonight," said Penguins' forward Mike Rupp. "Our team is built to play that way and we haven't been consistent with it. So, I think over the course of 60 minutes tonight, we played a pretty good brand of hockey that we can be proud of. Over the course of 82 games, we like our chances playing that way."

Crosby has one goal and four assists in five career games versus the Coyotes, who have won two straight and eight of their last 11 over the Penguins. That includes a 3-0 shutout last season in Pittsburgh -- sparked by 24 saves from Ilya Bryzgalov -- and Phoenix snapped a two-game home slide to the Pens in the last meeting in the desert on Oct. 30, 2008.

Bryzgalov struggled in net last night for the Coyotes, yielding three goals on 18 shots before getting pulled early in a 6-3 setback to Dallas. Jason LaBarbera also allowed three goals in relief on 13 shots.

"It was disappointing. We got behind early -- they got some breaks on some pucks that bounced off our guys and into the net," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett. "We couldn't create any breaks ourselves. Usually, when a team gets breaks like that, they earn those breaks."

Shane Doan scored his first goal of the season for the Coyotes and has eight in 17 career meetings with the Penguins.

Sami Lepisto and Lauri Korpikoski also scored for Phoenix, which has dropped five of its last seven and has still yet to win consecutive games this season.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.