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Ducks and Coyotes play first of three straight games

by John Kreiser

DUCKS (15-3-1) at COYOTES (9-8-3)


Last 10: Anaheim 8-2-0; Phoenix 5-4-1

Season series: It's the first of four meetings this season between the Pacific Division rivals. The Ducks will stay in Glendale for another game Monday night, and both teams will head back to Anaheim for a third straight meeting on Wednesday night.

Big story: While the Chicago Blackhawks are getting all the attention because they have yet to lose in regulation, the Ducks just keep on winning as well. They've won eight of their last nine, including a 3-2 victory against Minnesota on Friday. The Coyotes are coming off a 4-3 home loss to the Wild on Thursday.

Team Scope:

Ducks: Anaheim is off to the best start in franchise history -- this edition of the Ducks has more points at the same stage of the season than the 2006-07 team that won the Stanley Cup. That club was 13-2-4 through 19 games.

After blitzing Nashville 5-1 on Wednesday, the Ducks appeared to be poised to do the same to the Wild when they led 3-0 in the second period. But Minnesota scored twice in the final period and pushed the Ducks to the limit before coming up short.

"Obviously nobody expects to start the way we did, but guys are doing the right things," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, a member of the '06-07 team. "On nights like tonight where we probably didn't have our best thing all night, we started off good in the third period and had goaltending to keep us in it. Good teams find ways to win even when they shouldn't."

Coyotes: Seeing the same team for three games in a row is almost unheard of in the NHL. Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said he and his staff will prepare as if they were getting ready for a playoff series.

"It makes it fun as a coach because you dig in and you've got to find ways to make your team better while playing the same opponent," Tippett said after Friday's practice. "In the playoffs, that's what you do every day. In a mini-series like this, with the points so valuable, that will be the case this time around."

Who's hot: Getzlaf had a goal on Friday, giving him a five-game scoring streak in which he's put up 10 points. Linemate Corey Perry assisted on the goal and has 12 points during a seven-game scoring streak. … Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker has back-to-back two-point performances and has put up six points in the last five games.

Injury report: Anaheim's fast start has been fueled by good health; the Ducks have no injuries to report. … Phoenix is still without two key forwards, Martin Hanzal (upper body) and Radim Vrbata (lower body). Both are on IR.

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