It appears the Ducks will be without captain Ryan Getzlaf for at least one more game based on the optional skate earlier today and head coach Randy Carlyle's comments afterward. Getzlaf didn't play in Wednesday's game against Detroit, but skated before the team took the ice this morning. It was his first time on the ice since the injury occurred in Sunday's game against Philadelphia.
While it's not confirmed, it doesn't appear Carlyle will make any changes with his lineup if Getzlaf doesn't play. The trio composed of Nick Ritchie, Antoine Vermette and Ondrej Kase was arguably the team's best line in the 2-0 victory over the Red Wings, so don't expect them to be split up. In addition, Joseph Cramarossa will likely see time alongside Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry, while Chris Wagner, Logan Shaw and Jared Boll will round out the fourth line. Anaheim's top line of Andrew Cogliano, Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg will once again be tasked with shutting down Arizona's best.
John Gibson is expected to make his seventh consecutive start in net tonight. The 23-year-old is coming off consecutive victories, including a 51-save effort on Sunday. Gibson enters the game with a 14-9-7 record overall this season.
The Coyotes opted for a full pregame skate, but it doesn't appear newcomer Alex Burmistrov will make his debut just yet. The former eighth overall selection of the 2010 NHL Draft was claimed off waivers on Monday and skated with the Coyotes on Wednesday in Vancouver, but couldn't play because work visa issues weren't resolved in time. The 25-year-old forward didn't travel with the club to Orange County yesterday and wasn't on the ice this morning.
Burmistrov has only appeared in 23 games this season for the Winnipeg Jets, earning two points (both assists) and a minus-6 rating. Two games shy of 300 in his NHL career, Burmistrov has earned 81 points (30g/51a) with the Atlanta Thrashers/Jets.
It's been a tough recent stretch of games for the Coyotes, who come into town riding an eight-game losing streak. Perhaps the most disheartening part of it all was going winless on a five-game homestand that saw the Coyotes get outscored 20-10.
While the Ducks are tied with the San Jose Sharks for the lead in the Pacific Division with 48 points apiece, the Coyotes sit in last place with 27 points. But the discrepancy means little to the Ducks, who know they're in for a tough test tonight.
"They're a team that competes," said Silfverberg. "Every game in this league is a tough game. We have to make sure we play them with respect and come out and work. It'll be a good challenge for us."
Although they're missing Max Domi (hand surgery), the Coyotes have a wealth of young talent including 20-year-old forwards Christian Dvorak and Brendan Perlini, and defensemen Jakob Chychrun (18) and Connor Murphy (23). And although 21-year-old forward Anthony Duclair is having a down year offensively, he's torched the Ducks before. Duclair scored six of his 20 goals last season against Anaheim, including his first career hat trick on Oct. 14, 2015 at Honda Center.
"They have a young, skilled team over there," said Ritchie. "They haven't had the success they've wanted this year, but we have a lot to prove as well. This team is going to play hard. This team is going to play desperate. They've got some good players over there, so we're going to be ready to go."
Potential Line Combinations