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Ducks meet up with Coyotes in bid for sixth straight

by Brian Hunter

DUCKS (33-8-5) at COYOTES (21-13-9)


Last 10: Anaheim 9-1-0; Phoenix 3-3-4

Season series: This is the fifth and final game of the season between the Anaheim Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes. The Ducks are going for the sweep, having outscored the Coyotes 15-8 in their four wins. Phoenix has two points via losses in a shootout on Oct. 18 and overtime on Dec. 28. Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller has been in goal for all 246 minutes the teams have played, posting a 1.95 goals-against average and .937 save percentage.

Big story: As the Ducks aim for a sixth consecutive win, the Coyotes are hoping to draw back into the top eight in the Western Conference standings. They trail the Minnesota Wild by two points for the second wild-card berth, but have three games in hand. The Wild host the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Team Scope:

Ducks: An 18-0-2 home record has been earning Anaheim plenty of attention, but it hasn't mattered where the Ducks have played their hockey of late as they picked up their NHL-leading 15th road win Thursday by rallying for a 4-3 victory against the Nashville Predators.

Hiller got the night off as Frederik Andersen improved to 10-2-0 with a 23-save effort. Andersen was assigned to Norfolk of the American Hockey League on Friday and John Gibson was called up. Hiller is on a 12-game winning streak and has lost twice in regulation since Oct. 24. Teemu Selanne, who began his career playing for the Coyotes' predecessor, the Winnipeg Jets, scored the 109th game-winning goal of his career against the Predators.

"When you don't get as many chances as you are used to in your career, when those chances come you have to take advantage of them," Selanne said.

Coyotes: This is the finale of a six-game homestand for Phoenix, which is hoping to salvage a split. The Coyotes are also looking to bounce back from a tough 4-1 loss to the Wild on Thursday. With the opportunity to take over eighth in the West by themselves, they were done in by a three-goal third period for Minnesota.

Perhaps the biggest concern in the desert at the moment is getting goalie Mike Smith right. While he was named to the Canadian Olympic team on Tuesday, it's been a rough go lately for Smith. He stopped 25 of 28 shots against the Wild and dropped to 1-5-3 in his past nine decisions.

"We never want to lose at home as we've done lately," forward Mikkel Boedker, who scored the lone Phoenix goal Thursday, told "We have to change that, and it has to start Saturday."

Who's hot: Matt Beleskey assisted on both of Ryan Getzlaf's goals Thursday and now has a five-game point streak (two goals, five assists) for the Ducks. Getzalf had a three-point night and has three goals and five assists in his past five games. Corey Perry scored a goal for the third straight game. His 25 for the season ranks second in the League. … Boedker has goals in three straight games for the Coyotes and his 14 this season are a career high.

Injury report: Anaheim forward Dustin Penner (upper body) was out of the lineup Thursday. Goalie Viktor Fasth (lower body) and defensemen Bryan Allen (lower body), Luca Sbisa (wrist) and Sheldon Souray (wrist) are on injured reserve. … Phoenix forward Kyle Chipchura (lower body) was out of the lineup Thursday. Defensemen Zbynek Michalek (lower body) and Rostislav Klesla (illness) are on injured reserve.

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