The Bell Center will be buzzing tonight as Wayne Gretzky and the Phoenix Coyotes come into Montreal for the first time in two years looking to end a long losing streak against the Canadiens.
Phoenix stands at 3-14-0 with 5 ties all-time versus the Canadiens and have not won a single game since Dec 9, 1998 when they were 4-2 winners at home.
The situation doesn’t get any easier tonight since the Coyotes played in Ottawa last night dropping a 6-3 decision while feeling that the team played poorly over the first 2 periods.
“I think (the third period) that’s what we need to keep up going into tomorrow’s game (Montreal),” added Jokinen. “I think that’s the way we can play, but we have a young team and we have to find a way to play a full 60 minutes.”
Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky echoed Jokinen’s view and called for more effort from a few other players as the road trip continues”We’re going up against some good teams,” . “We need some of our guys to answer the bell a little bit. … We need some more people to step up.” said Gretzky.
Even though the Canadiens have a winning record versus Phoenix in the past, the desire to win is still fresh for the players due in part to the new faces expected to be returning to the lineup that have been battling injuries since the pre-season.
Francis Bouillon and Chris Higgins should get into thier first game tonight pending medical clearance, and both are looking forward to finally playing a game and getting back into the groove.
“I feel good,” said Bouillon, despite being out of the lineup since the start of the regular season with a knee injury. “I felt really comfortable in the one-on-ones and two-on-twos. Now I’ve got to talk with the doctors and the coaching staff to figure out when I can get back into a game.”
Higgins should expect to be playing with Sergei Kostitsyn and Robert Lang tonight as he did in practice, but according to a long time friend, it doesn’t matter who he’ll be playing with “He’s chomping at the bit,” Mike Komisarek said.