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Do I hear three?

The Arizona Coyotes travel to Anaheim on a two-game winning streak. Can they extend the streak against the league's best in the Ducks?

Jeff Gross

What a season of peaks and valleys this has been for the Arizona Coyotes. After losing five of six to close out October and starting November with a loss against the league's last winless team, Dave Tippett and company once again look like something resembling a hockey team.

Over the last two games, Arizona has displayed some good goaltending, an offensive explosion and some great defensive hockey. Granted, they still have yet to put all that together at once and pull out a win against a quality hockey club, but the signs of life are there. Much can be attributed to the "youth movement," but the team as a whole has upped their compete level in the two game winning streak. They will put that streak to the test Friday night against the team with the NHL's best record, the Anaheim Ducks.

Matchup at a Glance

Arizona Coyotes (5-6-1) Anaheim Ducks (10-3-1)
Points (Standing) 11 (6th Pacific) 21 (1st Pacific
Goals per game 2.6 (17th) 2.6 (15th)
Goals against per game 3.6 (Let's just say it's not the best) 1.9 (4th)
Power play percentage 23.4 (6th) 18.2 (18th)
Penalty kill percentage 72.5 (27th) 82.6 (12th)
Even strength Fenwick for 39.37 (17th) 39.23 (19th)
PDO 95.72 (29th) 100.71 (13th)


The View from Arizona

Along with the October 25th win over Florida and the victory over the Kings in the second game of the season, Arizona's most recent victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs may have been their most complete effort to date. They surged in the first period for two goals and added an insurance goal early in the second period. From then on, the Tippett-trap game was on and defense and goaltending took center ice and ultimately held on for the victory.

Mike Smith is starting to catch fire and the team is receiving some welcome energy in the form of young guns like Tobias Rieder and Brandon Gormley.

Last season, Arizona went 0-3-2 in five games against the Ducks, but went 3-1-0 against them the previous season. Either way, Arizona has a tendency to play up to their competition. It is too early to proclaim this a statement game, but it will be a good barometer of where the Coyotes stand against the league's best.

The View From Anaheim

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The Ducks are coming off an overtime loss against the New York Islanders without captain Ryan Getzlaf and NHL-leading goal scorer Corey Perry. Don't confuse that with them being soft, though; they still lead the NHL in points entering Friday's game.

That last contest was a strange one for the Ducks. First, neither Perry nor Getzlaf were in the Ducks lineup for the first time in five and a half years. Furthermore, former Coyote backup Jason LaBarbera was in net for Anaheim. The goaltender depth may be a pressing concern for Anaheim going forward.

But really, the standings accurately paint the picture: this team performs at a higher level than most teams in the NHL. Even down Perry and Getzlaf, the Ducks have talent to spare.

Keys to the Game

Keep forechecking - Arizona was able to get some dirty ones against Toronto off of a relentless forecheck. Nothing is more exciting than goals off of defensive zone turnovers (except when they are against you).

Defense and goaltending - Anaheim is fourth in the NHL in goals allowed. It is safe to say goals will be at a premium. Make sure it is a two-way street.

Don't try to out-Ducks the Ducks - You aren't the Anaheim Ducks, you are the Arizona Coyotes. Play to your strengths, not theirs.

Who's Hot

After failing to find the scoresheet in his first six games of the season, Sam Gagner has potted goals in both of Arizona's past two contests. It appears he is finally starting to put it all together.

For Anaheim, Cam Fowler has been playing solid all-around hockey. He has two points in his last two games and has yet to commit a penalty this season.

Injury Report

Anaheim has a large pool of injuries to fight through. Sheldon Souray (wrist), Mark Fistric (upper body), Kyle Palmieri (ankle), John Gibson (groin), and Ben Lovejoy (finger) are all expected to be out long-term. Bryan Allen (hamstring) and Frederik Andersen (leg) are both probable for tonight's game, as are both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry (illness).

For Arizona, the Coyotes will still be down forward Dave Moss.

Puck Drop

The puck will drop at 8:00 PM Arizona time at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The game can be seen locally on Fox Sports Arizona and heard on 620 AM KTAR.