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Bruins In the Desert to Face Coyotes

Fresh off a five-day break for Christmas, the Bruins resume play against the Coyotes in Phoenix. The Bruins find themselves a point behind the suddenly surging Rangers in the Eastern Conference. It's a reminder that even after winning 20 of their last 23 games, the Bruins' early-season issues have prevented them from getting much separation.

Despite the break, Claude Julien had suggested that Rich Peverley will not be available for tonight's game. He did not skate with the team yesterday, but was on the ice for today's morning skate. He will not play tonight, but should be ready by Saturday.

The ‘Yotes have lost two straight entering tonight's game, but find themselves only one point out of a playoff spot in the West. They've been hit hard by injuries, as center Martin Hanzal, and goalie Mike Smith will be out. Hanzal was injured last Friday against St. Louis and is suspected to have a concussion. Fear not, though, Keith Yandle is fine. Defenseman Adrian Aucoin may return tonight.

Jason LaBarbera started in net for Phoenix on Monday against LA and was pulled for former Flames backup Curtis McElhinney in the third period. Either way, as usual the Bruins will have a big advantage in net. No word from either team yet on starting goalies (time difference), but expect LaBarbera and Thomas. (Update: Tuukka Rask gets the start.)

Patrice Bergeron will be under the microscope tonight as he is being followed for the new "NHL 36" series. From what I understand it's essentially "24/7" but focused on one player. Hopefully it will give Bergy a higher profile league-wide. Let's all root for another hat trick from Bergeron tonight.

Bruins at Coyotes, 9 PM EST Arena SB Nation Coyotes Blog: Five For Howling