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Coyotes must deal with surging Ducks

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

Brian Hunter - Staff Writer

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Coyotes must deal with surging Ducks
Anaheim Ducks vs. Phoenix Coyotes
DUCKS (18-23-7) at COYOTES (22-20-8)


Last 10:
Anaheim 8-1-1; Phoenix 3-3-4

Season Series:
Fifth of six meetings between these Pacific Division rivals, with the series all even after Anaheim won the two most recent matchups. Niklas Hagman has 3 goals to lead the Ducks, while Martin Hanzal has 3 goals to pace the Coyotes.

Big Story:
When the Ducks relieved Randy Carlyle of his duties on Nov. 30 and replaced him with Bruce Boudreau, they undoubtedly were hoping their new coach could pull off a turn of events similar to what happened five years earlier when he took over a struggling Capitals team and led them to the Southeast Division title. Anaheim is finally rolling under Boudreau -- the only question is whether it took too long. The Ducks are still 12 points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference and have 34 games left to make up the necessary ground.

Team Scope:

With a four-game homestand awaiting to begin the month of February, first Anaheim must take care of business on the road against a division rival also on the outside of the playoff race looking in, and needing to pick up its play. The Ducks walloped the Coyotes 6-2 when they last met on Jan. 18, part of an 8-0-1 run, but that came to an end in the final game prior to the All-Star break as Jonas Hiller was beaten by Alex Goligoski late in the first period of a 1-0 loss to the Stars.

"It's a tough loss," said Hiller, who stopped the other 15 shots he faced. "Especially against Dallas, who's just a couple of points ahead of us. It was a four-point night."

Coyotes: Having lost its previous five games that were decided by a single goal, Phoenix finally came out on the right end of a close one against Ottawa last Tuesday, making the ensuing time off that much more enjoyable. Radim Vrbata's team-leading 23rd goal early in the third gave the Coyotes a 3-1 lead and they held off a solid Senators squad that is in playoff position in the East to record a 3-2 victory. Gilbert Brule and Shane Doan also scored, and Mike Smith stopped 32 shots.

"In my history with this team, one-goal games were our forte," defenseman Adrian Aucoin said. "We've taken a lot of pride in it. It got us to the playoffs twice. This year, it's been tough on us and when you're down by a goal it's hard hockey. It's nice to pull one off like that and we're going to need more."

Who's Hot:
Bobby Ryan has 6 goals and 4 assists over his last 10 games for the Ducks. Hiller is 5-1-1 over his last seven games with a 1.29 goals-against average and .954 save percentage. … Ray Whitney has 1 goal and 5 assists over his last five games for the Coyotes. Doan has 3 goals and 2 assists during the same span. Brule has 3 goals in seven games since being called up.

Injury Report:
Anaheim goalie Dan Ellis (groin), defenseman Matt Smaby (thumb) and forward Devante Smith-Pelly (foot) are on injured reserve. … Phoenix defenseman Derek Morris missed the last game prior to the break with a lower-body injury. Defenseman David Schlemko (foot) is on injured reserve.

Stat Pack:
The Ducks' special teams have been clicking during their hot streak, with the power play 5-for-its-last-15 (33 percent) and the penalty kill successful on 35 of its last 39 attempts (89.7 percent). … Aucoin returned to the Coyotes' lineup from a four-game injury absence and recorded 25:26 of ice time against the Senators, in addition to team highs of five shots and five hits.

Puck Drop:
Phoenix has made the playoffs in consecutive seasons since Dave Tippett became coach, the first time the franchise accomplished the feat in over a decade, but extending the run to three in a row won't be easy.

"I think for us to put a push on after the break, we're going to have to come back and be a lot better team," Tippett told the Arizona Republic. "We're going to have to have individuals play better. We're going to have to play better as a group to give ourselves the best chance of being a playoff team."
2011-2012 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 31 '12 ANA 0 at PHX 4 O. Ekman-Larsson
Jan 31 '12 ANA 4 at PHX 1 A. Cogliano
Jan 18 '12 PHX 2 at ANA 6 F. Beauchemin
Dec 14 '11 PHX 1 at ANA 4 N. Hagman
Nov 23 '11 ANA 2 at PHX 4 R. Vrbata
Oct 23 '11 PHX 5 at ANA 4 K. Yandle
T. Selanne49163046+64080
C. Perry49221739-863103
R. Getzlaf4982634-155142
B. Ryan49191231-42702
S. Koivu4191827+112601
A. Cogliano4911920-31322
F. Beauchemin4961218+13721
L. Visnovsky3651318-11411
C. Fowler4931518-14800
N. Hagman3971017-41022
L. Sbisa4921315-83200
T. Lydman4601111-73600
M. Beleskey41279+25000
J. Blake14448+2012
N. Bonino19358+0200
D. Smith-Pelly26325-101011
A. Gordon37235-10600
M. Macenauer29134-41801
S. Brookbank47044+64600
B. McMillan25044-102000
G. Parros28033+24400
K. Palmieri10112-1200
K. Foster9112-5800
R. Pelley26101+01200
N. Guenin10101+1600
P. Holland4101+0201
B. Maxwell10011-1200
J. Jacques6000+21200
M. Bell4000+0500
P. Maroon2000+0200
J. Hiller4316-18-711212222.77.908
D. Ellis101-5-0192142.72.911
J. Deslauriers11-0-02282.00.929
I. Tarkki11-0-03104.39.700
R. Whitney51162743+142450
R. Vrbata51231740+101646
S. Doan51151530-102634
K. Yandle5162329-42802
L. Korpikoski51111324+51202
O. Ekman-Larsson5171421-21811
M. Hanzal3751520+43221
D. Langkow4271219-71411
M. Boedker517916-3601
B. Gordon4451116+91001
R. Torres487613-13500
T. Pyatt516713-51200
K. Chipchura3911112+42900
D. Schlemko4111011+71000
R. Klesla44279+71700
D. Morris43088-142600
C. O'Reilly27246-7410
D. Rundblad26156-10600
A. Aucoin41235+52410
M. Rozsival23055+0800
G. Brule8314+1210
P. O'Sullivan23224-4200
C. Summers10033+0000
M. Pouliot9022-3200
P. Bissonnette16101-11601
P. Nokelainen5011-1000
A. Miele7000-3600
K. Turris6000-2400
M. Smith3918-14-79311702.49.921
J. LaBarbera153-7-1353862.73.909
C. McElhinney21-0-02361.67.944