Coyotes hope to slow hard-charging Ducks
For the better part of four months, the Arizona Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks were the two surprise teams of the NHL's Pacific Division -- for opposite reasons.
The Coyotes, after sinking to the bottom of the division last season, were unexpected early season contenders. The Ducks, who entered the season with Stanley Cup aspirations, got off to a dismal start and languished near the bottom.
But suddenly, the tables have turned. The Ducks (24-18-7) have moved back into playoff position with a season-best five-game winning streak. They now have a one-point lead over the Coyotes (24-21-6), who have fallen back by going 2-5-2 over their past nine games.
The Coyotes will have an opportunity to reverse the current trend when they take on the Ducks on Friday night in Anaheim. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona, starting at 7:30 p.m.
The Coyotes have won all three meetings with the Ducks this season, including two in Anaheim. But the teams haven't played each other since the day before Thanksgiving, before the Ducks got their offense untracked.
Anaheim is 12-3-1 over its last 16 games. It is coming off a 4-2 win over division-leading Los Angeles on Thursday night.
Ryan Getzlaf finished with a goal and an assist, giving the long-time Anaheim center 11 points in his last 10 games and tying him with Corey Perry for the team points lead with 34. It was his only his fourth goal of the season and his first even-strength goal since Nov. 16.
"In the history of this team, if he's playing the way he can, like he was tonight, then usually the rest of the team follows suit," coach Bruce Boudreau said.
David Perron, acquired in a Jan. 16 trade with Pittsburgh, had a goal and two assists in Thursday's victory and has scored eight points in six games since joining the Ducks. The Ducks also got a goal from Ryan Garbutt, who they acquired in a Jan. 21 trade with Chicago.
Arizona rookie Anthony Duclair has scored five of his 14 goals in the Coyotes' three wins over Anaheim -- including a hat trick in a 4-0 victory on Oct. 14. Duclair's linemate Max Domi has three goals and three assists in the three victories.
The Coyotes are also playing on consecutive nights following their 5-4 overtime loss at home to Chicago. The four-goal outburst was the most they scored in a game since Jan. 12.
The Coyotes had Louis Domingue in goal against the Blackhawks, so Anders Lindback could face Anaheim. Lindback has only made three starts and two relief efforts since allowing nine goals in two games in mid-December.
Frederik Andersen will start in goal for Anaheim. He is 4-0-1 with a 1.67 GAA in his last six appearances.