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And we're back as the Arizona Coyotes host the Anaheim Ducks

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The Arizona Coyotes return from a brief Christmas break and take on another Pacific Division rival: the Anaheim Ducks.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight the Arizona Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks meet for the third time this season and for the first time at Gila River Arena.  These two teams split the first two games in Anaheim.

Matchup at a Glance


Anaheim Ducks

Arizona Coyotes

Points

51 (1st Pacific) 28th (6th Pacific)

Goals Per Game

2.78 (15th)

2.29 (25th)

Goals Against Per Game

2.64 (15th)

3.24 (27th)

Power Play Percentage

16.7 (20th)

19.6 (12th)

Penalty Kill Percentage

79.5 (20th)

75.2 (29th)

5 on 5 Fenwick For Percentage *

50.3 (16th)

49.6 (22nd)

PDO *

100.4 (12th)

97.6 (28th)

*stats from War-On-Ice.com

View from Arizona

Tonight is a rare situation for the Coyotes. They play tonight's game coming off of a win. The Yotes game against the Edmonton Oilers earlier this week may have been their last "easy" one this season.  If you want proof of how much the Coyotes are going to miss playing the Oilers, they are currently 3-6-1 in December, will all three of their wins coming against the Oilers.

If the Coyotes are going to win tonight's game they are going to need to play like they did on Tuesday.  They scored, limited their opponents scoring chances, and were perfect on the penalty kill.  It remains to be seen whether they can play that way against good teams.

View from Anaheim

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The Ducks have been winning more than their stats would suggest they should be this season.  They are currently leading the league in points but they are 15th in both goals for and goals against.  They don't have extremely impressive possession stats but they also don't have the high PDO you would expect from that situation.  It remains to be seen whether or not they can maintain the current pace and finish the season this strong of if they are going to regress down.

This past month the Ducks are 9-2-0 with both of losses coming at home via 6-2 finals.  Many of their games have been close though, with all but two games being 1 goal wins.  This suggests that the Ducks have either been extremely good in one goal situations or they have been extremely lucky so far.

Keys to the Game

  1. Special teams. The highlight of the Coyotes' play this season has to be a successful power play.  The Ducks don't have a great penalty kill this season, making this potentially the Coyotes only advantage over the Ducks.

  2. Score first. The Ducks have been great at tight wins, its best to get ahead quick and not let them come back.

  3. Goaltending. This season goaltending has been incredibly important, especially since the defense hasn't been that great.

Who's Hot

Sam Gagner had a great game against the Edmonton Oilers which saw him tally two goals and two assists. Hopefully that offensive flair extends to teams that didn't draft and trade him.

Ryan Getzlaf had the only goals against the Ottawa Senators and an assist on the game winning goal against the Sharks.  He leads the team in assists (27) and points (39).

Injury Report

For the Coyotes Chris Summers and Lauri Korpikoski are out with upper and lower body injuries respectively. Korpikoski may make his return in tonight's game.

On the Ducks side, Kyle Palmieri, Eric Brewer, and Sheldon Souray are all injured.  Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin are listed as likely to return today, while Tim Jackman is questionable to play after a head injury.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game is taking place at Gila River Arena at 6 PM Arizona time.  It will air on Fox Sports Arizona and AZ Sports 98.7 FM.