NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, January 4th (All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (19-15-5) at Anaheim Ducks (19-15-5), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The battle for second place in the Pacific Division will go down in California tonight, as the Phoenix Coyotes visit the Anaheim Ducks and the Honda Center.
The Coyotes and Ducks enter this game with identical 19-15-5 records and 43 points on the season. However, both clubs trail the San Jose Sharks by 20 points for the top spot in the division.
This is the second of six meetings between Phoenix and Anaheim this year. Helped by two goals out of Shane Doan, the Coyotes posted a 4-2 win in Anaheim on October 12 for their seventh win in the last 10 meetings with the Ducks. It was also Phoenix's fourth win in the last five trips to the Honda Center.
The Coyotes enter this test on a winning note, having defeated the New York Islanders, 5-4, on Friday after five different Phoenix skaters scored.
Zbynek Michalek had a goal and an assist and Olli Jokinen, Doan, Joakim Lindstrom and Viktor Tikhonov each lit the lamp for the Coyotes, who have won three of their last four.
The win helped Phoenix conclude a three-game homestand 2-1. The Coyotes will return home for three straight games following tonight's road test and the club is 6-10-3 as the visiting team this year.
Making his second straight start in place of an injured Ilya Bryzgalov, Mikael Tellqvist ended with 29 saves. Bryzgalov is probable against his former team though and is 4-1-1 with a 2.06 goals against average versus the Ducks, who selected him in the second round of the 2000 draft. Bryzgalov was claimed off waivers by Phoenix early last season.
The Ducks have dropped five of their last six games, including Friday's 5-4 shootout loss to Philadelphia. As the second shooter for the Flyers, Mike Richards snapped a wrister past Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and Ryan Getzlaf failed to extend the session for the Ducks.
Getzlaf and Corey Perry had a goal and an assist each and Giguere finished the contest with 28 saves. Rob Niedermayer and Andrew Ebbett also scored in the loss.
Giguere, who Bryzgalov spent his career backing up, is 16-8-4 with a tie and 2.29 GAA lifetime against the Coyotes.
The Ducks have lost the first two tests of a four-game homestand and are 10-8-3 as the host club this season. However, they won't have Perry for the rest of the residency after he was suspended for four games by the NHL on Saturday for an elbowing incident in Friday's loss.
Perry received a double-minor for high sticking at 5:36 of the third period but a closer look revealed it was an elbow that left Philadelphia's Claude Giroux bloodied on the ice. The 23-year-old will miss this game as well as contests against Tampa Bay and a home-and-home set with Los Angeles.
01/04 10:36:58 ET