Coyotes look to put brakes on Ducks' fast start

BY foxsports • October 17, 2013

The Anaheim Ducks are off to one of their best starts in franchise history despite a largely unproductive power play.

The Ducks will try again to solve those woes while trying to defeat the Phoenix Coyotes for just the second time in the last six matchups Friday night.

With five consecutive wins, Anaheim (5-1-0) is on the verge of matching its longest streak from last season, and the Ducks have achieved that despite coming up empty in 18 opportunities with a man advantage in the last four games.

They're also a league-worst 1 for 23 on the power play overall this season. The Ducks have overcome that with stifling defense.

The Ducks have allowed a combined five goals in the last four games and outscored opponents 20-8 during their win streak, which followed a 6-1 drubbing in Colorado on Oct. 2 to open the season. Anaheim's start is its best since it went 12-0-4 in 2006-07 -- an NHL record that stood until last season's Chicago Blackhawks went 21-0-3.

"When you don't allow a lot of goals, then you usually have some success," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Our first periods have been generous to us. We've gotten out to a lead and just had to protect it. Last season, we would usually have to come from behind."

Boudreau's team held on for a 3-2 victory over Calgary on Wednesday, grabbing a 2-0 lead in the first 13:04. Dustin Penner scored the first of those goals in his return from an upper-body injury, and veteran Teemu Selanne added his first of the season in the second period.

That gave Anaheim enough cushion to survive being outshot 17-4 in the final frame. The Ducks are 3-0-0 at home for the second time in three seasons, and after losing their home opener last season, reeled off a franchise-best 13-game winning streak at the Honda Center.

"Last year, we won games when we didn't play really well," said Selanne, who now has 676 career goals. "We found a way to win again. That's good but it was not pretty out there, especially the third period."

Phoenix, meanwhile, couldn't build on a 2-0 lead Tuesday against visiting Ottawa and had a three-game win streak snapped with a 4-3 overtime loss.

"Everybody's got to contribute a little bit. The problem tonight was probably half a dozen guys didn't contribute much at all and that's where you come up a little bit short," coach Dave Tippett said.

The Coyotes (4-2-1) have gotten plenty of contributions in recent matchups with Anaheim, going 4-1-0, and two of those wins came in shootouts.

A 5-3 victory in the latest meeting with the Ducks on April 27 snapped Phoenix's three-game losing streak at the Honda Center. Radim Vrbata had one of his five career hat tricks and an assist in that win.

Vrbata has six goals and nine assists in his last 11 matchups with Anaheim, while Antonie Vermette has four goals and two assists in his past seven.

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, meanwhile, has three straight multipoint performances against the Coyotes, totaling two goals and five assists.

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