The last time these two teams met both teams had injury to key players and both teams still do, but not nearly as many. The Ducks have had Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler return to action. The Coyotes get to have their starting goalie, Antti Raanta, in net.
View From Anaheim
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The Ducks started the season without most of the members of their starting lineup with Getzlaf, Kesler, Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg, and Hampus Lindholm all missing games but now returned to the lineup. In fact the team tops the league in man games lost. Despite all this the team is still in a position to challenge for a playoff spot.
The Ducks are just 2 points away from grabbing a wildcard spot from the Minnesota Wild. They are also a team that is known for flipping the intensity switch in the second half of the season to get themselves in to the playoffs. All of this could mean a very fierce afternoon game.
View From Arizona
The Coyotes are still searching for consistency in their game. They are coming off a 7-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and will be looking to start off the new year right. Playing solidly today could go a long way in turning things around for the team.
After today’s game the team will have played their 41st game which means that the first half of the season is over. It has been a rough one, and their record of 9-26-5 reflects that. The Coyotes are not fighting for a playoff spot but they are fighting to be better.
Will the Coyotes perform better today than in the season opener?
That first game started well but the wheels came off in the third period and that has been a theme for the first half of the Coyotes’ season. Will the team be able to keep it together for a whole game?
How physical will this one get?
The Ducks are known for being a physical team and the Coyotes don’t have issues getting physical either. In fact the team the Coyotes fight with the most is the Anaheim Ducks.
Can Clayton Keller keep up his point streak?
The Coyotes young rookie has tied his own previous record of a having points in seven straight games. Can he keep it going and break his record from earlier this year?
Players to Watch
Arizona: Antti Raanta - This will only be the second time in Raanta’s career that he has faced the Ducks. It will be interesting to see how he handles them.
Anaheim: Ryan Kesler - He just recently returned to action and is still looking for his first points of the season.
Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) is still on the Injured Reserve with no timeline yet for his return. The good news is he has started practicing with the team.
Brad Richardson (upper body) did not play last night against the Colorado Avalanche and it was reported that he would miss the next two games at least.
Zac Rinaldo (suspended) will be serving the second of his 6-game suspension for punching an unsuspecting opponent during the game against the Avalanche on December 23.
Corey Perry (lower body) is out week-to-week with an injury to his right leg and is not expected to return until January.
Patrick Eaves (illness) was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome at the end of October, it is unknown if he will be able to return to the lineup at this time.
Puck drop is at 2 p.m. AZ time on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports Go. You can also hear the call by ‘Heeter and Biz’ on KTAR News 92.3 FM.