Nikolai Khabibulan always seems to find new ways to show that he hates Arizona. The 38-year-old goaltender was once a hero in the Valley. In the late 90’s, Khabibulan’s play in net helped lead the Coyotes to several playoff runs. In the last decade, however, a contract dispute, a bitter divorce with Phoenix, and a recent DUI conviction have combined to make the Russian one of the few players who Coyotes fans can truly root against. It certainly doesn't help that Khabibulan has celebrated a Stanley Cup win and two all-star appearances since leaving the Coyotes.
Don’t be surprised, then, if the boo-birds are out in full force when Khabibulan leads the Edmonton Oilers into Jobing.com Arena to take on the Coyotes. The game will feature two top goalies -- Khabibulan and Coyotes goalie Mike Smith -- so scoring could be scarce in this matchup. The Coyotes bested Edmonton last month, and another win could help solidify Phoenix’s standing in the Western Conference.
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Thu., Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m., 2011