DUCKS (4-6-1) at COYOTES (8-4-0)
Last 10 --
Anaheim 4-5-1; Phoenix 6-4-0
Season series --
First of four meetings this season -- Phoenix will visit Anaheim next Saturday night. The Ducks won three times against the Coyotes last season, including a 3-2 shootout victory at Jobing.com Arena in the last meeting on March 19. Bobby Ryan
netted the winning goal in the fifth round.
Big Story --
This is the only road game for Anaheim in a 10-game stretch that sees the Ducks go right back to Honda Center for three more after Saturday night. They routed the Canucks on Friday to snap a four-game losing streak. Meanwhile, Phoenix has put together a stretch of six wins in eight games, including consecutive road wins in Columbus and St. Louis.
There was a brief period of time Friday night when Anaheim fell into last place in the Western Conference following Minnesota's win over the New York Rangers. Then the Ducks salvaged the finale of a disappointing six-game homestand by scoring seven unanswered goals to thump Vancouver and leapfrog back over the Wild. Now they need to put a win streak together, because the Pacific Division is shaping up to be extremely strong with both Los Angeles and Phoenix surprising, and the Ducks are currently seven points behind the fourth-place Coyotes.
Ilya Bryzgalov did it again on Thursday, keeping all 32 St. Louis shots out of his net and leading Phoenix to a 2-0 win for his third shutout of the season. All three have come on the road -- Pittsburgh and San Jose being the other victims. The Coyotes average only 2.58 goals per game, 21st in the League, but with Bryzgalov playing this way they're a threat to win just about every night.
"He's phenomenal. He comes up big all the time," said forward Daniel Winnik, who had the game-winning goal against the Blues.
Who's Hot --
Ryan and linemate Corey Perry
each scored twice against Vancouver. Perry has three goals and seven points in his last four games, while Ryan has three goals and five points in his last two games. Forward Joffrey Lupul has four goals in as many games.
Winnik and linemate Vernon Fiddler, who assisted on both goals against St. Louis, each has a goal and four points in his last three games.
Injury Report --
Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere (groin) is practicing but won't be rushed back after re-aggravating the injury last week against Columbus. Coyotes defenseman Kurt Sauer
(head) hasn't played in a game since the opener in Los Angeles.
Stat Pack --
Bryzgalov has three shutouts in 10 games, which already matches his career high from each of the previous two seasons. He played in 65 games last season and 64 during 2007-08 -- the first nine for Anaheim before Phoenix claimed him off waivers. Bryzgalov did record three consecutive shutouts for the Ducks during the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Puck Drop --
Dave Tippett has had the Coyotes prepared in his first season behind their bench, and is well aware what's in store as the Ducks come to town.
"They are a team that is always very competitive and we'll have our hands full," Tippett said. "I don't think the season has gone as well as they would have liked yet, so they're going to be a very hungry team."
-- Brian Hunter, NHL.com