COYOTES (24-21-6) at DUCKS (24-18-7)
TV: FS-A, FS-W, NHL.TV
ANAHEIM -- On the heels of a big 4-2 rivalry win at the Los Angeles Kings, the Anaheim Ducks are looking to show another Pacific Division foe that they aren't the same team they were earlier this season when they host the Arizona Coyotes on Friday at Honda Center.
Arizona dominated Anaheim in three meetings this season. But with the Ducks on a roll, having won four straight and six of their last eight, and the Coyotes scuffling, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said this game is suddenly more important than it might have seemed before.
"I think, quite frankly, in our position here, it's the biggest game of the year," Boudreau said. "I think against L.A., we're always getting up for it. This team has come in here and kicked our butt three times. We're one point ahead of them and they know what it means and we know what it means. To me, it's the biggest game of the year."
The speedy Coyotes skated circles around the Ducks, outscoring them 12-5 while going 3-0-0 this season. Arizona scored four goals in each of those three games with rookies Max Domi and Anthony Duclair leading the way. Domi scored three goals and assisted on three while Duclair registered his first hat trick against the Ducks on Oct. 15, in Anaheim.
The rookies served as a wakeup call for Anaheim.
"It was a shock," Boudreau said. "We weren't playing as good as we can, but at the same time we didn't know anything about Duclair and Domi and the new guys. We didn't know Tobias Rieder too well and the guys that grew up. We know about [Oliver] Ekman-Larsson, we knew about [Martin] Hanzal and we knew about [Antoine] Vermette, but some of these guys we didn't know and we were quickly shown how good of players they are."
The Coyotes were defeated 5-4 in overtime by the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday, when Jonathan Toews scored the overtime winner. Ekman-Larsson had three points.
Arizona comes in having gone 2-5-1 in the past eight games. Coach Dave Tippett said he is mulling some lineup changes.
The Ducks and Coyotes each held optional morning skates.
Here are the projected lineups:
Tobias Rieder - Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker
Max Domi - Martin Hanzal - Anthony Duclair
Jordan Martinook - Brad Richardson - Shane Doan
Kyle Chipchura - Boyd Gordon - Viktor Tikhonov
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Connor Murphy
Klas Dahlbeck - Zbynek Michalek
Nicklas Grossman - Michael Stone
Injured: Dylan Reese (achilles), Joe Vitale (fractured orbital bone), Mike Smith (lower-body), Jared Tinordi (lower-body)
Scratched: Steve Downie, Kevin Connauton
David Perron - Ryan Getzlaf - Chris Stewart
Patrick Maroon - Rickard Rakell - Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg
Ryan Garbutt - Nate Thompson - Mike Santorelli
Cam Fowler - Kevin Bieksa
Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson
Sami Vatanen - Simon Despres
Injured: Clayton Stoner (hip flexor)
Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, Harry Zolnierczyk
Status Report: Lindback will start against Anaheim. He's 2-1-0 in his career against the Ducks, including a win on Nov. 9, in Anaheim. "I'm really excited for the opportunity and really looking forward to it," Lindback told the Arizona Republic … Andersen is expected to start against Arizona as Gibson played on Thursday. He has never lost to the Coyotes and is 3-0-3 with a 1.58 GAA and a .940 save percentage against them.
Who's Hot: Perron has points in all but one game with Anaheim since coming over in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 15. He has three goals and five assists and a plus-6 rating in that span… His linemate Getzlaf has a goal and five assists in the past four games… Lindholm has scored a special teams goal in each of the past two games, a power-play goal against the Kings and a shorthanded goal Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks … Garbutt has scored in each of the past two games… Martinook has scored in each of the past two games and has four points in the past three games.