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Arizona Coyotes spend Thanksgiving at home versus Anaheim Ducks

Arizona plays the first of three home games tonight when they play the Anaheim Ducks.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since the beginning of the month, the Arizona Coyotes will get some quality time at home. They open the first of three home games tonight against the Anaheim Ducks at Gila River Arena.

Matchup at a Glance

Anaheim Ducks Arizona Coyotes
Points 20 (5th Pacific) 21 (4th Pacific)
Goals For 1.91 (29th) 2.75 (12th)
Goals Against 2.59 (T-13th) 2.95 (T-24th)
Power Play 17.7% (21st) 15.0% (26th)
Penalty Kill 88.5% (1st) 83.3% (10th)
5v5 Corsi For 52.3% (7th) 48.0% (24th)
PDO 96.7 (29th) 100.7 (T-10th)

View from Anaheim

For comprehensive Anaheim Ducks coverage, check out Anaheim Calling

Are the Ducks finally turning their season around?

A brutal 5-0 loss in Tampa Bay on Saturday overshadowed 4-1, 3-1, and 5-3 victories against Carolina, Florida, and Calgary, respectively. Anaheim has scored 14 goals over its past five games, which is a significant improvement for the team's anemic offense.

The Ducks are finally getting contributions from some of their major players. Cam Fowler has four points in his last four games, as does Sami Vatanen. And Corey Perry went off last night against the Flames with two goals and an assist.

View from Arizona

After a 1-3-0 road trip, the Coyotes return to Glendale with many questions and few answers. A hard fought 3-2 victory in Montreal was followed by a disappointing 3-2 loss in Winnipeg. Arizona is now out of playoff position with Anaheim charging up the standings right behind them.

Anders Lindback played reasonably well against the Jets on Saturday after Mike Smith was a late scratch due to injury. Smith is expected to be back tonight, and will start in net for the Coyotes. His only shutout this season came early in the season against these Anaheim Ducks.

Keys to the Game

  • No More Shorthanded Goals - Arizona has surrendered five goals with the man-advantage, which is tied for the most in the league. Given how much trouble the Coyotes have had scoring on their own power play, the last thing they need is to give up goals while up a man.
  • Good Power Play Choices - Arizona scored two power play goals against the Jets by taking shots with traffic in front of the net. They weren't pretty, but they were effective, which is how Arizona's power play has to score.
  • Stay Composed - It's no secret that the Ducks and Coyotes do not like each other. If the Coyotes are in a close game, the last thing they should do is gift the Ducks opportunities to score by giving them easy power plays or taking the Coyotes' best players off the ice.

Players to Watch

Of all the solid performances in Anaheim's 5-3 win over Calgary, Ryan Getzlaf may have had the best night. He assisted on all five Anaheim goals, and now has a goal and eight assists in his last five games.

Though his point streak may have ended in Winnipeg, Oliver Ekman-Larsson had three goals and four assists over seven games.

Injury Report

Jiri Sekac, Simon Depres, and Nate Thompson are all on injured reserve until at least December, while Frederik Andersen is questionable for tonight's game with the flu.

While Steve Downie and Joe Vitale are still both on injured reserve, the Coyotes are expected to get Nicklas Grossmann and Mike Smith back for tonight's game.

Puck Drop

Tonight's game begins at 7 PM Arizona time. You can watch the game on Fox Sports Arizona Plus or listen on ESPN 620 AM.