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Offenses revved up as Ducks welcome in Coyotes

by Brian Hunter
COYOTES (1-1-1) at DUCKS (1-3-1)

Season series:
First of six meetings this season between these Pacific Division rivals. Phoenix won four of six in 2009-10, including consecutive shutouts by Ilya Bryzgalov in the two most recent matchups. Twelve different Coyotes scored in the series -- captain Shane Doan led the way with three goals, including the overtime tally in a 3-2 win on Nov. 29. Bobby Ryan's three goals paced the Ducks.

Big story: Expect a busy night for the goaltenders -- Anaheim leads the NHL in most shots allowed per game, a whopping 43.4 through its first five contests, while Phoenix has yielded the second-most at 37.3. Not surprisingly, the teams have combined to win just two of the eight games they've played.
Team Scope:
Coyotes: This is the second game in 24 hours for Phoenix, which opened the season by splitting a pair of games against Boston in the Czech Republic before returning home to Arena for a rematch of last spring's first-round playoff series with Detroit. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, they got the same disappointing result -- despite opening the scoring on a Martin Hanzal goal late in the first period, they fell 2-1 in overtime as Niklas Kronwall connected on a late power play for the Red Wings.

"You give a good power play that many chances and they are going to score," Doan said after Phoenix took eight penalties -- six coming in the third period and overtime. "We felt like we controlled the game when it was 5-on-5, but they found ways to get power plays and we didn't."

The recent addition of Andreas Lilja and the return to good health of free-agent acquisition Toni Lydman should help what to this point has been a porous Anaheim defense. Lilja was added to the roster Saturday after his visa was approved, while Lydman, who suffered from double vision during the preseason, played his first game with the Ducks on Friday. He scored a goal in his debut, but his team blew a two-goal lead in the third period to the visiting Thrashers and lost 5-4 in the shootout.

"Any time you lose in your own building, it's disappointing, especially when you have the lead going into the third," captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "We worked pretty hard all game long. We needed to close it out of the end and we didn't."

Who's hot:
Bryzgalov has a 2.28 goals-against average and .938 save percentage through the Coyotes' first three games. … Getzlaf has 2 goals and 6 points in the Ducks' last two games, while Corey Perry has 2 goals and 4 points during that span. Teemu Selanne has 2 goals and 5 points in the last four games.

Injury report: Phoenix forward Ray Whitney missed Saturday's game with an upper-body injury. … Anaheim forwards Joffrey Lupul (back) and Jason Jaffray (knee) and defenseman Andy Sutton (thumb) are on injured reserve.

Stat pack: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, whom the Coyotes made the No. 6 pick in the 2009 Entry Draft, has averaged over 20 minutes of ice time in his first three NHL games and is second among their defensemen with 7 shots on goal. … The Ducks connected three times on the power play against the Thrashers and are 6-for-16 (37.5 percent) over their last three games. Selanne's power-play score Friday gave him 608 goals for his career, tied for 16th all-time with Dino Ciccarelli.

Puck drop:
The Coyotes appear to be closer to having a secure future in Phoenix with an agreement in principle being reached between the city of Glendale, Ariz., and prospective owner Matthew Hulsizer.

"It's been a long process, but I believe the city (of Glendale) will be announcing today or sometime over the weekend that they have an agreement in principle with Matthew Hulsizer and his group and we have been working with the Hulsizer group on the purchase transaction aspect and I think, conceptually, we have an agreement," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Friday on the NHL Live! program.

"Now, it is a process of documenting that agreement and moving into closing. But, we are hopeful that we can transition ownership in the very near future -- certainly before the end of the calendar year."

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