The NHL-leading Anaheim Ducks (23-8-5, 51 pts.) return from the Christmas break to take on the Arizona Coyotes Saturday at Gila River Arena (5 p.m. PST, Prime Ticket/AM 830). Currently leading the NHL in standings points and co-leading in victories, the Ducks have won nine of their last 11 games (9-2-0), gone 12-4-0 in their last 16 and earned 51 points in their last 35 (23-7-5). Anaheim also owns an NHL-best 12-5-2 road record and has won five of its last seven games away from Honda Center.
Saturday's game marks the only time the Ducks will travel away from Southern California over a span of 37 consecutive days (beginning Dec. 20 through Jan. 25), and also begins the club's seventh set of back-to-back games this season. The Ducks are 6-5-1 in back-to-back games in 2014-15, including 3-2-1 in the opening game. Dating to the start of the 2013-14 season, Anaheim is 26-10-4 in back-to-back situations and 14-4-2 in the second game, an NHL best by win percentage (.750). The back-to-back set will conclude Sunday when the Ducks host the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center (5 p.m. PST).
Anaheim and Arizona play the third game a five-game season series at Gila River Arena. The Ducks have earned standings points in seven straight games vs. the Coyotes (6-0-1) and own an all-time record of 63-32-17 vs. their Pacific Division rival. Anaheim is 27-11-10 in Arizona and has won the last two games in Glendale dating to a 4-2 win on Nov. 23, 2013. The Ducks are 1-0-1 the Coyotes this season, dropping a 3-2 shootout on Nov. 7 and earning a 2-1 victory on Nov. 23.
With 16-38=54 points in 54 career games, Ryan Getzlaf leads the Ducks in career scoring vs. the Coyotes. This season, Ryan Kesler has a team-best three points (0-3=3) in the two games. These two teams will meet two additional times at Gila River Arena on Mar. 3 (6 p.m. PST) and Apr. 11 (6 p.m. PDT). HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:
Since Dec. 1, the Ducks lead the NHL in wins (9-2-0) and rank fourth in goals scored (35, excluding shootout goals). Among December league leaders, Ryan Getzlaf leads in scoring (5-12=17) and assists, and Ryan Kesler is tied for sixth in goals (6). Among NHL defensemen, Sami Vatanen ranks tied for third in goals (4) and Frederik Andersen leads NHL goaltenders in wins (9-1-0). Anaheim owns a 20-3-0 record over the last two Decembers (.870) and is also two wins shy of matching the most December victories in club history (11-1-1 in 2013). ON A WINNING NOTE:
The Ducks are the only NHL team with two winning streaks of seven games-or-longer this season, including from Oct. 11-24 (7-0-0) and Dec. 1-13 (7-0-0). Since the start of the 2013-14 season, the Ducks have won at least seven straight on five different occasions, with no other NHL team doing it more than twice (Columbus, Pittsburgh and St. Louis both have two win streaks of seven games-or-more). There have been 16 total win streaks of seven games-or-more by NHL teams since the start of the 2013-14 season. The Ducks have posted winning streaks longer than seven games twice in club history, including Dec. 6-28, 2013 (10 games) and Dec. 31, 2013-Jan. 15, 2014 (eight).THE GAME OF ONE:
Fourteen of Anaheim's last 16 victories have been one-goal games dating to a 1-0 win on Oct. 28 at Chicago, including six decided in extra time (three overtime, three shootout). The club's 12 straight wins by one goal from Oct. 28-Dec. 10 were the most in the NHL since Atlanta had 14 in 2010-11. The Ducks lead the NHL with 17 wins in one-goal games (17-0-5) and join Vancouver as the only two NHL teams without a regulation loss in a game decided by one goal. Anaheim also ranks third among NHL teams for winning percentage in one-goal games (.773). Since the beginning of the 2012-13 season, the Ducks have posted a 58-6-19 record in one-goal games, owning the top record in the NHL by win percentage (.813). ON TO OVERTIME:
Anaheim has played 12 overtime/shootout games in 2014-15, representing 33% of the club's schedule. The Ducks played nine OT/SO contests in the first 21 games from Oct. 9-Nov. 20 to match a 2003-04 franchise record to start a season. From Oct. 31-Nov. 20, Anaheim went beyond regulation in eight of 10 games, a franchise first in any 10-game stretch. The Ducks went to overtime 18 times in 2013-14.
A LOOK BACK TO 2013:
Dating back to the start of the 2013-14 season, the Ducks own the top regular-season record in the NHL at 77-28-13. In addition, Anaheim also has posted the league's best home (40-11-7) and road (37-17-6) records. The Ducks have 70 wins in regulation/overtime since the start of 2013-14, leading NHL teams and nine over the closest Western Conference opponent (St. Louis, 61). Among NHL defensemen since the start of the 2013-14 season, Hampus Lindholm ranks second with a +40 rating. NOTABLES:
Ryan Getzlaf (12-27=39), who ranks fifth among NHL leaders in scoring, tied for third in assists, and tied for fourth in even-strength scoring (11-17=28) and assists, has points in six straight (4-6=10, second-longest active streak in the league) and in 11 of his last 12 games (6-14=20). Ryan Kesler has 6-3=9 points in his last nine games and 11-10=21 points in his last 23. Sami Vatanen has set career highs in goals (9), points (24) and PPG (5), and matched a career best in assists (15) in 36 games. Vatanen, who has 6-11=17 points in his last 23 games, co-leads NHL defensemen in PPG (5), ranks tied for fifth in scoring (9-15=24) and tied for fourth in goals. Matt Beleskey has a career-high 15 goals in 36 games and has 8-3=11 points in his last 16. Beleskey is currently tied for 11th among league leaders in goals and tied for second in GWG (4). RARE FEATS:
Frederik Andersen became the first goaltender in NHL history to win 26 of his first 31 decisions (26-5-0) with a 4-1 victory on Oct. 22 vs. Buffalo. Andersen, who won his first six starts (6-0-0), currently ranks tied for second among NHL goaltenders in wins (19). He started a career-high 20 consecutive games from Nov. 7-Dec. 18, the longest streak by an Anaheim goaltender since Jonas Hiller started a club-record 32 straight from Jan.12-Mar. 18, 2012. During his season-opening six-game win streak, Andersen posted a career-high scoreless streak of 152 minutes and 46 seconds (spanning three games) from Oct. 17-22. He also recorded a career-best seven-game win streak from Dec. 1-13, becoming just the third goaltender in club history to win seven straight team games in a single season, joining Hiller (Dec. 6, 2013-Jan. 12, 2014; 14-0-0) and Guy Hebert (Feb. 25-Mar. 22, 1996; 7-0-0). BEHIND THE BENCH:
Bruce Boudreau, who appeared in his 200th game with the Ducks on Oct. 31 @ Dallas, owns a 134-63-27 record in 224 games with Anaheim. On Mar. 2, 2014 vs. Carolina, Boudreau became the fastest Ducks coach to 100 victories in 169 career games. With an all-time record of 335-151-67 in 553 career NHL games, Boudreau leads active NHL coaches in win (points) percentage with a .667 mark (min. 100 games). He appeared in his 550th career game as a head coach on Dec. 16 at Toronto. IN THE CIRCLE:
Anaheim enters tonight's game with the league's ninth-best faceoff win percentage (51.7) after finishing last season tied for 19th. Ryan Kesler ranks tied for 16th among NHL leaders in faceoff win percentage (55.6%). The Ducks have a total of three centers with a faceoff percentage of 50% or higher, including Ryan Getzlaf (52.5%) and Nate Thompson (52.3%). IRONMAN:
With STL defenseman Jay Bouwmeester missing what would have been his 738th consecutive NHL game on Nov. 23 at Winnipeg, Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano became the NHL's active Ironman leader on Nov. 23 vs. Arizona. Now at 576 straight games, Cogliano has not missed a game since his NHL debut with Edmonton on Oct. 4, 2007...only two players have played more consecutive games to start their careers, including Doug Jarvis (the NHL's all-time Ironman overall with 964 consecutive games from 1975-88) and Andy Hebenton (second with 630 consecutive games from 1955-64). Bill Harris also played 576 consecutive games to start his career from 1972-80.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH:
Matt Beleskey - 1 point to 100 NHL points
Emerson Etem - 9 appearances to 100 NHL games
Ryan Getzlaf - 5 goals to 200 NHL goals
Dany Heatley - 9 points to 800 NHL points
Ryan Kesler - 9 appearances to 700 NHL games; 6 goals to 200 NHL goals
Nate Thompson - 8 points to 100 NHL points
Sami Vatanen - 8 appearances to 100 NHL games