Skip to main content

Ducks-Coyotes Preview

NHL.com @NHL

Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky is fed up with his team's power play. He might want to have his Coyotes watch what the Anaheim Ducks do with the man advantage.

One of the league's best power-play units squares off against one of the worst Saturday when the Ducks try to continue their recent dominance of the Coyotes.

The Coyotes (12-20-1) are converting just 11.7 percent of their power-play chances, ranking them near the bottom of the league. They went 1-for-8 with the man advantage in Thursday's 3-2 loss to Edmonton, with the only power-play goal coming when an apparent pass from Yanic Perrault bounced off defenseman Jason Smith's leg and into the goal.

"Our power play is just killing us," Gretzky said. "It's the difference in every game. It is what it is. That's the group we have. They've got to produce. I'm not trying to point fingers at players but the bottom line is our power play is horrendous. We had ample opportunities and generated nothing."

The Ducks (27-4-6), on the other hand, rank near the top of the league, converting 23.0 percent of their chances with the man advantage. They have scored at least one power-play goal in each of their last six games, including one in Wednesday's 4-1 win over Dallas.

Anaheim also features one of the NHL's top penalty-killing units, killing off 86.6 percent of its opponents man-advantage chances.

Besides the special teams disparity, the Coyotes also have recent history to worry about Saturday. Phoenix has dropped eight straight against Anaheim, including all three matchups this season, and is 1-11-2 with a tie in the last 15 games in the series.

The Ducks, who own the best record in the league, have won 12 of their last 14 games overall.

"The regular season is a long stretch of hockey. There are a lot of games, road trips and everything that goes into it," defenseman Scott Niedermayer said. "So far, our guys have been doing a great job of staying committed and working as hard as they can."

Corey Perry scored twice against the Stars, giving him six goals and three assists in his last seven games after picking up just three assists in the previous 12 contests. Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 26 shots for his league-best 23rd win of the season, and is 11-1-0 in his last 12 starts.

"We're just trying to go out there and prove ourselves every night," Perry said.

The Coyotes have dropped five of their six and own the second-worst record in the Western Conference. Curtis Joseph made his first appearance in nine days and first start since Dec. 11 on Thursday, but fell to 7-14-0 with a 3.43 goals-against average as Phoenix was outshot 31-23.

View More