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Ducks return home to face surging Coyotes

by Brian Compton

COYOTES (11-3-2) at DUCKS (12-3-1)


Last 10: Phoenix 7-1-2; Anaheim 7-2-1

Season series: This is the second of five meetings between the Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim earned a 3-2 shootout victory against Phoenix on Oct. 18 at Honda Center.

Big story: Two of the hottest teams in the League face each other in Anaheim. The Coyotes enter with a five-game winning streak, including three consecutive shootout victories. The Ducks return home after going 5-2-1 on an eight-game road trip, which helped them reach the top of the NHL standings.

The Ducks will have forward Teemu Selanne back in the lineup against the Coyotes. It will be his first game since he was hit in the mouth by a stick during Anaheim's 3-2 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 29.

"I was lucky," Selanne told the Ducks' website Tuesday. "All of the four teeth I lost were fake ones. I already have all new ones. I was very lucky. My mouth guard really saved me in this case. I’m feeling good now."

Team Scope:

Coyotes: Phoenix extended its winning streak to five games with a 3-2 shootout victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Arena on Tuesday. The Coyotes' last three wins have come via the shootout, with Antoine Vermette scoring the game-winner in the sixth round against Vancouver.

Mike Smith made 31 saves through overtime, then denied Mike Santorelli, Chris Higgins, Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin in the shootout. Alexandre Burrows was the only Canuck to solve Smith in the breakaway competition.

The win improved Phoenix's home record to 7-0-1. They joined the Ducks and San Jose Sharks as the only teams yet to suffer a regulation loss at home this season.

“It was kind of a chess match and the chances weren’t the highest,” said Smith, who had to make 48 saves in San Jose on Saturday. “I think we learned a lot from the last game and we got another big two points.”

Ducks: Anaheim completed its successful road trip Monday when it earned a 2-1 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. It was a happy homecoming for Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri, who scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at 9:09 of the first period. Frederik Andersen was also fabulous for the Ducks in a 32-save effort.

"It was nice. I had a lot of family and friends here," said Palmieri, who was born in Smithtown, N.Y., before moving to Montvale, N.J. "People that supported me on my way up and throughout my career. It was nice to play in front of them."

Anaheim begins a three-game homestand. Wednesday will be the Ducks' first game at Honda Center since Oct. 20.

"It ended up pretty good," coach Bruce Boudreau told the team's website regarding its road trip. "We were a little worried when you start the trip off 2-0 and you’ve got six more games. I think it says a lot about the character of the group. The Ottawa game was very tough, and we hung in and we just kept getting better and better after that. And then you start to believe you can win, and then they do.

"To me, it was a great trip. I was really worried when I looked at the schedule. It doesn’t stop. The next three games [at home] and then four more on the road is a really tough stretch, but instead of having 20 games to go through, we now have seven more to go to get through this stretch. It’s looking up."

Who's hot: Smith is 8-0-2 in his past 10 appearances and has stopped 120 of 125 shots in his past three starts. Coyotes captain Shane Doan has three goals and two assists over the past five games. … Ducks forward Corey Perry has four goals and an assist in his past five games.

Injury report: Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris suffered an upper-body injury Tuesday but will try to play. Defenseman David Schlemko (lower body) is questionable and center Jeff Halpern (back) is on injured reserve. … Ducks forward Matt Beleskey (thumb) skated Tuesday and is inching closer toward returning. Defenseman Sheldon Souray (wrist) is expected to miss 4-to-6 months. Forwards Saku Koivu (head) and Jakob Silfverberg (hand) and goalie Viktor Fasth (lower body) are on injured reserve.

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