Anaheim Ducks (23-13-7-1) vs. Arizona Coyotes (12-22-5-1)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 14, 2017
Where: Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona
Lines: Anaheim -200/Arizona +120
One of the meanest teams in the league is meeting one of the weakest. After winning five of their last six games, the Anaheim Ducks (1st in Pacific Division) are paying a visit to the Arizona Coyotes (7th in Pacific), who will host them just 25 hours after seeing of Winnipeg…
The Ducks march on without a flinch
Recording their fifth win in past six outings, the in-form Anaheim Ducks (23-13-8) squeezed out San Jose from the top spot in Pacific Division, convincingly beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 at Pepsi Center on Thursday. The Ducks have now earned points in nine of their last 10 games, going 6-1-3 in the process. Jakob Silfverberg (13 goals, 29 points for the season) opened the scoring against the Avs before Rickard Rakell (17 goals, 25 points) had to break a 1-1 tie in the first period. Ryan Kesler (17 goals, 36 points) added a third goal in the second period, while Corey Perry (8 goals, 32 points) scored into an empty net after the Ducks killed back-to-back power plays in the third.
Netminder John Gibson, who played his 100th NHL game, made 33 saves in total and did not concede a goal on 26 shots faced in the last two periods. He is 7-1-3 in his past 11 starts and has gone 17-10-7 for the year with a 2.34 GAA. Gibson has recorded a 2-1-0 career performance against Arizona with a 1.96 GAA. The Ducks are sitting 8th in the league with 54 points from 44 games and have a split 9-8-6 away record. They are scoring the 16th highest amount of goals per contest (2.66), allowing the 12th lowest quantity in their defensive zone (2.57). Anaheim’s power play ranks 8th best in the NHL with a 22.1% success rate, while its penalty kill positions 16th with solid 82% efficiency.
The ‘Yotes get back to action
The Arizona Coyotes (12-22-6) will be thrown straight to the lions on their return to the NHL action after the mandatory 5-day break. The ‘Yotes will finish off a 3-game homestand, which started with a 2-1 shootout win against the New York Islanders last Saturday, seeing off the Winnipeg Jets and the Anaheim Ducks in a back-to-back set over Friday and Saturday. It is yet to be seen if the little hiatus will do any good for Arizona’s slumbering season so far. Yet, the Coyotes will at least be happy to start it on the back of their first win in the past 10 games (1-8-1). They are entering Friday with Radim Vrbata as their top skater with 9 goals on 24 points so far this term. The 35-year-old Czech right wing was also responsible for the decisive shootout goal against the Isles.
The ‘Yotes will probably opt to give both goalies a game under their belts during the back-to-back double-whammy, especially with back-up Louis Domingue excelling in the win against the Islanders. He is 5-10-1 for the year with a 3.24 GAA and is 0-1-0 against Anaheim, recording a 4.50 GAA. He will probably start against Winnipeg. Mike Smith, who has gone 7-11-5 for the year with a 2.83 GAA, has a much better 11-8-3 total against the Ducks with a 2.59 career GAA. The Coyotes were still 2nd from the bottom of the league before Friday with 30 points from 40 games. They were averaging the 2nd lowest quantity of goals scored per game (2.05), allowing the 2nd highest amount in their defensive zone (3.18 per outing). The ‘Yotes were 5th worst in power play with a terrible 14.4% success rate and 3rd worst in penalty kill with an atrocious 76.3% proficiency.
- Ducks are 4-0 in their last 4 vs. a team with a losing record.
- Ducks are 5-1 in their last 6 overall.
- Ducks are 5-1 in their last 6 games playing on 1 day’s rest.
- Coyotes are 1-5 in their last 6 home games.
- Coyotes are 0-8 in their last 8 vs. Pacific.
- Coyotes are 0-4 in the last 4 meetings with Ducks.
Anaheim already has bagged two wins against Arizona this season at home and shouldn’t do much worse on the road either, with the Coyotes coming into the game just 25 hours after a clash against Winnipeg. The Ducks seem to be getting better and better as the season progresses, while the ‘Yotes have been dwelling at the bottom of the league for most part of the current campaign. It is hard to see them putting up a serious fight against their sturdy division rivals…