Just like Will Ferrell in Old School, the Phoenix Coyotes are going streaking. The Desert Dogs have won six in a row, vaulting them up the Western Conference standings, as they open a five-game road trip against the Nashville Predators.
Heading into Saturday, the Coyotes currently sit in third in the Western Conference. All five Pacific Division teams currently hold a playoff spot, with the San Jose Sharks trailing the Coyotes by just a single point, tied for fourth in the conference.
Phoenix did get a bit of bad news on Friday, as they sent Ed Jovanovski to injured reserve following an injury against the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday. Jovo had been struggling with injuries of late, and his injury against Atlanta was the final straw for the veteran defenseman's health.
The Preds have been a streaky team throughout the year, starting off hot, then struggling, and are now cemented in the middle of the West, at least for now. They're 4-4-2 in their last 10, but have been buoyed all season by the play of their goaltender, Pekka Rinne.
The Finnish goaltender has posted an astounding 2.07 GAA, with four shutouts on the season. He's won two of three against the Yotes this season, including a shutout back on November 30th.
Ilya Bryzgalov has been hot as well of late, taking home Top 3 Star honors last week, winning all six starts of this recent win streak. He has a pair of shutouts during the streak, and has allowed more than two goals just once.
Most of the credit for Phoenix's recent turnaround can be attributed to their defense. After going about the early part of the season without a real identity, the Coyotes have established themselves as a defense-first squad, blocking shots and making life a bit easier on Bryzgalov.
Saturday is just the start of this road trip, which promises to be a tough one for the Coyotes. The Coyotes will meet top tier squads during the five games, including Eastern Conference powers Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.
For continuing coverage of Phoenix's Saturday game, be sure to follow along on Five For Howling.