Posted March 02, 2013 on
AP on Fox
Thanks to a unique twist in the lockout-shortened schedule, the Anaheim Ducks will be seeing a lot of the Phoenix Coyotes over the next few days.
With the way Anaheim has been playing lately, the opponent hasn't seemed to matter anyway.
The Ducks - off to the best start in team history - seek their 13th win in 15 games on Saturday night when they begin a stretch of three games in five days against the Coyotes.
"With the shortened season, these are some of the quirks that you deal with," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "Every point is valuable, and especially when you're playing a team that's leading your division, it magnifies those points even more."
Red-hot Anaheim picked up two more points on Friday when it survived a late Minnesota rally for a 3-2 win - the team's eighth straight at home. The Ducks (15-3-1) surpassed the 2006-07 Stanley Cup team - which opened 13-2-4 - for the best start in franchise history.
"You never want to be satisfied, and you never want to take anything for granted,'' coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We just want to keep going and see how far it can lead.''
The Ducks have been nearly as good on the road with a 7-2-1 record. Anaheim, however, had its six-game winning streak snapped in a 5-2 loss at Los Angeles on Monday.
It was a rare off offensive performance for an Anaheim team that ranks among the NHL leaders at 3.32 goals per game and has been even more potent at 3.4 on the road.
Ryan Getzlaf has helped lead the way with three goals and seven assists during a five-game point streak.
Linemate Corey Perry has four goals and 12 points in his seven-game run. He has 14 goals and nine assists in his last 22 against the Coyotes.
Perry is also tied with Saku Koivu for the team lead with three power-play goals. The Ducks have been tough to stop on the man advantage recently, converting 8 of 15 opportunities in their last five contests.
They may have a difficult time matching that efficiency against a Phoenix team that has killed 25 of 28 penalties in its last nine games.
Mike Smith will try to get back on track after allowing four goals on 19 shots before being replaced by Jason LaBarbera in the third period of a 4-3 loss to Minnesota on Thursday.
While Smith has given up 11 goals in his last three games, he's won five of six home starts with a 1.26 goals-against average against the Ducks.
The Coyotes (9-8-3) started February with a 6-2-1 record, but closed the month by going 1-2-1 in their last four. The slide has coincided with the loss of leading goal scorer Martin Hanzal, who has been moved to injured reserve with an upper-body injury.
Kyle Chipchura has helped pick up the slack with three goals and an assists in four games since Hanzal went down, while Mikkel Boedker has chipped in with a goal and four assists over that span.
After Jonas Hiller had 31 saves in Friday's win, the Ducks are expected to start Viktor Fasth against the Coyotes. Fasth, who is 9-1-0 overall, has won five of six road starts with a 2.41 GAA.
The Coyotes, who have won three of the last four meetings in Phoenix, will also host the Ducks on Monday before the teams move to Anaheim on Wednesday.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
GLENDALE, Ariz. If you polled NHL fans for the biggest storylines this season, the Anaheim Ducks 14-3-1 start would barely register a blip.
Between the lockout-shortened schedule, the Chicago Blackhawks historic run, Ryan OReillys contract holdout, Lindy Ruffs firing, the Coyotes continued ownership saga and realignment talks, the Ducks are, well, flying under the radar.
GLENDALE, Ariz. Dont look now, but the Coyotes are in last place in the same Pacific Division they won just 11 months ago. The situation isnt dire yet, but the signs sure are.
Twenty games into the season, Phoenix is committing the same mental errors it did in the first week of the season. Twenty games into the season, there is still no sign of that water-tight defense that defined...
GLENDALE, Ariz. Steve Sullivan has murdered a dozen innocent sticks over the past six weeks choked the life out of every feeble blade. But as his goal-less drought reached 14 games in reality -- and eternity in his mind -- all the experiences of a 38-year-old NHL veteran were of no use.
"You don't think you have as much time as you do, you're trying to rush pucks...
ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME SHOT, DOC
I have literally never seen anything like this in all my years of watching hockey. Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle dumped the puck in off the top of the glass and it bounced off the stanchion, skipped on the ice and then beat Minnesota Wild goalie Nick Backstrom shortside beneath his knee. No one will ever be able to duplicate something like this ever again. Minnesota...
The Ducks have to be feeling good about themselves after having torched the Nashville Predators two nights ago. Regardless if the Preds were tired or not, the Ducks bounced back strongly from a disappointing loss to their freeway foes, the Kings.
The line of Kyle Palmieri, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were the story of the game. The trio combined for nine points, including KP...
For Anaheim, who are 14-3-1 to lead the Pacific Division, the losses have been few and far between. How do you recover from a loss to your hated division rivals on Monday night? Follow it up with a resounding 5-1 victory against the Nashville Predators on Wednesday.
Nashville, a team that has tripped the Ducks up in the past, seemed like easy pickings. Pekke Rinne, a Vezina...
Teemu Selanne scored his 669th NHL goal, Jonas Hiller made 31 saves, and the Anaheim Ducks held off Minnesota's late surge and beat the Wild 3-2 on Friday night for their eighth straight win at home.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf and Matt Beleskey also scored for the streaking Ducks, who have won eight of nine and 12 of 14 despite barely holding on to their 3-0 lead over Minnesota after...
GETTIN' WILD ON BIZNASTY
The big news from Michael Rupp vs Paul Bissonnette: BizNasty left last night’s brawl with a stream of blood over his left eye after getting rocked by Rupp. You had to figure, after BizNasty went on a three-game scoring streak, he’d be a little rusty in the fighting department. After his suddenly hot play, the Coyotes actually gave Biz 12 shifts last night against Minnesota....
The Phoenix Coyotes on Friday recalled forwards Chris Brown and Rob Klinkhammer from their AHL affiliate in Portland, Maine.
The 22-year-old Brown has 18 goals and 11 assists in 51 games for Portland this season.
Brown was a second-round draft pick of the Coyotes in 2009. He didn't sign with Phoenix until last year after he finished his college career at Michigan, where he...
DUCKS (15-3-1) at COYOTES (9-8-3)
Tonight marks the start of one of the weirdest stretches of games on the Ducks schedule. Anaheim will play the next three game against the Phoenix Coyotes, starting with a back-to-back games in Arizona.
The Ducks and the Coyotes face-off tonight. Anaheim will remain Glendale for another game Monday night, and both teams will fly back to California...
As good as the Anaheim Ducks have been at home lately, the last thing the Minnesota Wild need is Kyle Palmieri to get going offensively.
Palmieri will try to build off his first NHL hat trick and help the Ducks extend their longest home win streak in three years on Friday night when they host the Wild, who hope they've ended their struggles on the road.
After its season-high...