Entering the All-Star break, the Phoenix Coyotes put together an impressive run. The same couldn't be said about the Anaheim Ducks.
Both teams resume play following the hiatus on Tuesday night, with the Coyotes seeking their sixth win in eight games and the Ducks looking to prevent their third consecutive loss.
Phoenix (24-19-5) was shut out in back-to-back contests on Jan. 4 and 6, but has since scored at least three goals in all but one of its last seven games while going 5-2-0. The Coyotes matched their highest goal total of the season in their final game before the All-Star break and did it against the defending Stanley Cup champion, beating Detroit 6-3 last Tuesday.
Enver Lisin broke a 3-all tie with a pair of third-period goals, Derek Morris had a goal and an assist, and captain Shane Doan added two assists for Phoenix, which hasn't been to the playoffs since 2002 but currently stands fifth in the Western Conference.
"It's almost a bad time for a break because we're playing as well as we have in a long time," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. "I think a year ago we would have found a way to lose that game but maturity and want and will to win - we've really come a long way here."
Gretzky's club now looks for a season-high fourth straight win at home, where it is 16-6-2 overall.
The Ducks haven't visited Phoenix this season, though the teams have split two meetings in Anaheim - the Coyotes won 4-2 on Oct. 12 before falling 2-0 on Jan. 4.
Phoenix is two points ahead of Anaheim (23-21-5), which is tied with Edmonton and Vancouver for sixth place in the West.
"It's going to be huge," Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski told the team's official Web site of Tuesday's contest. " ... These two points have to be ours."
Anaheim also could use those points, having dropped its last two contests entering the All-Star break and six of eight.
"As a team, we've had our ups and downs and we're not where we want to be right now," Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere told the league's official Web site prior to starting Sunday's All-Star game. "We'd like to be a little higher in the standings, and we know we have to play better."
That improvement can likely start with Giguere, as he compiled a 3.68 goals-against average while going 1-5-2 in nine games heading into the break. He's lost his last four starts versus the Coyotes.
On Wednesday night, Giguere yielded two goals on seven shots before Jonas Hiller came in and stopped the seven shots he faced in a 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders. The Ducks, who had 40 shots in the loss, totaled seven goals in their final four games before the break - all on the road - while going 1-3-0.
Bobby Ryan has three goals and an assist during that stretch, including Anaheim's only goal Wednesday. He leads all rookies with 15 goals, and is second among them with 30 points.
Doan tops the Coyotes with 18 goals, but hasn't scored one in nine straight games. He has 20 goals and 39 points in 66 career games against Anaheim, which is 3-2-2 in its last seven visits to Phoenix.