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.