Coyotes look to close gap on division-leading Ducks

BY foxsports • November 23, 2013

The Anaheim Ducks have already defeated the Phoenix Coyotes twice this season, but those meetings came at home. Visits to the desert haven't gone quite as well.

The NHL-leading Ducks attempt to avoid a five-game road losing streak with a rare victory in Glendale on Saturday night.

Anaheim (16-6-3) scored the final four goals in a 5-2 win over Phoenix on Nov. 6. Things didn't go quite as smoothly Oct. 18, when the Ducks needed to go six rounds in a shootout to emerge with a 3-2 victory over the Coyotes.

Anaheim, though, has won just three of its last 12 visits (3-5-4) to Arena, losing three straight there while surrendering 14 goals.

The Ducks enter this meeting giving up 14 goals during a four-game road losing streak, their longest since dropping five straight Feb. 27-March 12, 2012.

Ryan Getzlaf stopped their overall losing streak at five games Friday, scoring with 5.2 seconds left in overtime to beat Tampa Bay 1-0.

"Getzy plays hard. He is the leader. He logged a lot of minutes (25:04). It was only rightful," coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Getzlaf leads the team with 13 goals and 26 points. He's scored seven of those goals while adding three assists during a six-game point streak that started with one of each against the Coyotes on Nov. 6.

The center's 51 points in 48 career meetings with Phoenix (14-4-4) are his most against any opponent. He recorded three of them and scored Anaheim's only shootout goal in a 5-4 road loss March 4.

Getzlaf had one point over the previous five away matchups.

Jonas Hiller is 1-2-1 with a 3.49 goals-against average his past four games in Phoenix, but stopped 31 shots for his second shutout of the season Friday.

Hiller has also won both meetings with the Coyotes, stopping 54 of 58 shots.

Phoenix trails Anaheim by just three points in the Pacific Division, and another home game could help them close that gap.

The Coyotes are 9-0-2 at home, joining the Ducks as the only NHL teams yet to lose at home in regulation. Phoenix had an eight-game home win streak snapped with Thursday's 4-3 overtime loss to Colorado after Keith Yandle's slashing penalty led to a goal with 41 seconds left in the extra period.

"That should be a good lesson for us," coach Dave Tippett said. "Discipline, and making the wrong play at the wrong time or taking a penalty at the wrong time, can cost you a point or two.

"You want to play your best every night. You want to give yourselves the best chance to win, and you want to win a lot more than the other guys. We want to be a top team. We just don't want to be an alright team, we want to be a top team."

Captain Shane Doan extended his point streak to seven games with an assist Thursday. He's scored six of his team-leading 10 goals during that run while adding three assists.

That stretch includes a goal at Anaheim on Nov. 6, giving him 20 points in the past 18 meetings.

Mike Smith, the likely starter in net, has a 1.94 GAA and two shutouts while winning seven of eight career home games against the Ducks. He's started both meetings this season, compiling a 2.89 GAA.