Fresh off of their first decisive victory since the Islanders came to town, the Phoenix Coyotes walk into a serious trap game on the road against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night with the Red Wings looming on Thursday back in Glendale. The Coyotes found some home cooking was just what the doctor ordered in their Monday matinee showdown with the Avs, putting together one of their most complete performances of the season in front of the home crowd. The six goal performance marked a season high for the Desert Dogs and it was another strong performance by Mike Smith.
Meanwhile in Anaheim, the Ducks have begun to climb out of the Western Conference basement with a 5-0-1 record over their past six games that include a very respectable 25 goals for and only 11 against. Included in the streak were back-to-back hat tricks for Corey Perry and Saku Koivu. The Ducks are still sitting a long way out of the playoff picture, but they do have some of the most dangerous forwards in the game, including the Perry - Ryan Getzlaf - Bobby Ryan line that is one of simply the best in the entire league. Defense has been the concern for the Ducks all season, but Jonas Hiller between the pipes has done more to keep them in games recently and steal a bunch of wins.
For the season, the Coyotes are 2-1-0 against the Ducks with a win and a loss at the Honda Center and two games remaining at Jobing.com Arena on the season series. The Coyotes enter the game in 11th place in the Western Conference, but are just 2 points behind Minnesota for 8th position.
Five For Winning
1. Play With Jam: For those that watched 24/7, this was Peter Laviolette's rallying cry to his team to get them to play with emotion and outwork their opponent. We saw it against Colorado, will we see it continue against the Ducks?
2. Control the Top 6: The Getzlaf and Koivu lines are really all that Anaheim generally throws at the opposition - if you keep them in check, then usually you will win.
3. Play Below the Blue Line: As with Colorado, Anaheim's weakness is in their own end; make them play the game in their defensive end with a strong forecheck and cycle and you should have success.
4. Keep the Hot Hand: Smith has looked very strong out there and despite the back-to-back games, I think he should be back in the cage for the 'Yotes tonight.
5. Special Teams Prowess: Neither of these teams is setting the league on fire with their special teams, but the Coyotes have seen a lot of success when their power play is clicking. They looked good against Colorado and with a team that is fairly undisciplined in Anaheim, they will need to exploit those opportunities.
|2011 - Gilbert Brule||3||1||1||2||-1||0||1||0||0||6|
Brule had a goal and an assist the other day against Colorado and really was creating opportunities all over the ice. With Martin Hanzal likely back before the end of this week, Brule is looking to keep a spot in the lineup and he'll need to continue his strong play to do so.
|2011 - Teemu Selanne||44||15||28||43||5||40||7||0||0||125|
No Ducks player has more points against the Coyotes than the former Jet. In his career the Finnish Flash has recorded 74 points (35G, 39A) in 74 career games against the franchise that drafted him. Not only does he usually score a point every game against the Coyotes, they are usually of the back-breaking variety.
Likely Starting Goalies
|2011 - Mike Smith||34||1966||17||11||76||2.32||1041||965||.927||2|
|2011 - Jonas Hiller||38||2132||12||17||105||2.95||1076||971||.902||2|
Phoenix Coyotes Injuries
Anaheim Ducks Injuries
Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)
|Player||Injury Type||Injury Date|