Ducks-Coyotes Preview

The surging Phoenix Coyotes rallied in their last game after one
of their top defenseman went down. The Anaheim Ducks have come
together nicely since an injury to their captain last month in
Arizona.

The Coyotes look to extend their point streak to eight when they
face a Ducks team going for a fourth straight victory overall and
third in a row in Glendale on Saturday night.

Coming off consecutive one-goal road wins, the Coyotes (22-13-9)
were sluggish against Toronto on Thursday before defenseman Ed
Jovanovski was hit in the head by Maple Leafs forward Mike Brown
late in the second period.

No penalty was called, and the incident seemed to wake Phoenix
up. With Jovanovski sidelined the entire third period with a
lower-body injury suffered on the hit, Shane Doan, Taylor Pyatt,
Lauri Korpikoski and Keith Yandle scored in the final 20 minutes
for a 5-1 victory.

Phoenix moved to 5-0-2 in its last seven, the club’s longest
point streak since a season-best 7-0-2 run from Nov. 6-23.

“These are very, very important games for us,” coach Dave
Tippett said. “We have to play better than we did tonight. I’ll
take the two points but we need to play better.”

The Coyotes, one point ahead of Anaheim (24-18-4) for second
place in the Pacific Division, continue a four-game homestand
against a Ducks team that has won three straight and six of
seven.

With Bobby Ryan notching his third career hat trick and
recording a career-best four points, Anaheim capped a 5-1-0
homestand with a 7-4 victory over the Blues on Wednesday. The Ducks
went 6-6-1 in their first 13 games last month before closing the
year with two straight wins.

“The month of December was a little bit ugly,” said Ryan, who
has six goals and an assist in the last three games. “We’ve gone on
streaks all year long. We need to come out at home, establish the
forecheck, and establish our identity.”

That identity changed during a 3-1 victory at Phoenix on Dec.
28, when a shot from Doan bounced off the stick of Ducks defenseman
Cam Fowler and hit captain Ryan Getzlaf in the face.

While Getzlaf is likely out until next month with multiple
facial fractures, Anaheim has won five of six in his absence. Ryan,
who scored three times in a 6-4 road victory over the Coyotes on
Nov. 27, has been outstanding since sliding over to take Getzlaf’s
center spot.

The club has been anchored defensively by Jonas Hiller, who has
turned away 94 of 98 shots during the winning streak and is
expected to start against the Coyotes, who have scored 34 goals in
the last nine games.

Hiller is 3-1-0 with a 2.25 GAA against Phoenix this season,
winning both starts at Jobing.com Arena.

Tippett will likely have Ilya Bryzgalov in net after he made 28
saves Thursday for his third consecutive victory.

Anaheim will try to sweep its road matchups with Phoenix for the
first time since the 2001-02 season.