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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 19th (All times eastern)

Phoenix Coyotes (21-12-2) at Anaheim Ducks (13-14-7), 4 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The surging Phoenix Coyotes will aim for their third win in a row when they visit the Anaheim Ducks for today's Pacific Division battle at Honda Center.

The Coyotes have also posted victories in eight of their last 10 games and have moved within three points of Los Angeles and San Jose for first place in the division.

Phoenix played its last game Thursday in Columbus and skated away with a close decision. Robert Lang scored the decisive goal in the third round of the shootout, as the Coyotes clipped the Blue Jackets, 2-1, at Nationwide Arena. Keith Yandle scored in regulation for the Coyotes.

After Columbus' Rick Nash and the Coyotes' Shane Doan, captains for their respective clubs, both scored in the second round of the shootout, Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin missed the mark and Lang snapped a shot past Mathieu Garon to give Phoenix the extra point.

It was a memorable night for Doan as the veteran forward appeared in his 1,000th regular season NHL game. He became just the 42nd player in league annals to play 1,000 games with one franchise and the 24th player to reach the milestone with the organization that drafted him. Doan was taken by Winnipeg with the seventh overall pick in the 1995 draft and followed the team to the desert.

"It's a huge blessing," Doan said of the milestone. "It is hard to say what it really means. It will probably mean a lot more later on. Right now it is a big win for us, we needed it. It was a tough game but it was big for us to win."

Phoenix backup netminder Jason LaBarbera, making just his fifth start of the season and first since November 16 against Tampa Bay, finished with 38 saves. Ilya Bryzgalov is expected to return to his role as starting goaltender today.

This afternoon's game marks the finale of a four-game road trip for the Coyotes, who are 9-7-2 as the guest this year.

Anaheim, which is last in the Pacific, had won two in a row before losing in San Jose on Thursday. Joe Thornton scored twice to lift the Sharks to the 4-1 victory.

Ryan Getzlaf's eighth goal on the season represented the lone marker for Anaheim, which concluded a four-game road trip at 2-1-1. Jean-Sebastien Giguere had 33 saves in the setback.

Anaheim is home for just one game before heading back out on a three-game swing that begins Tuesday in Colorado. The Ducks are 9-8-2 as the host this year.

The Coyotes have won two of three meetings with Anaheim this year, but the Ducks have gained a point in each of those matchups with a 1-0-2 record. Anaheim has taken five of eight and seven of the last 11 meetings overall and Phoenix has lost four of its last six in Orange County.

12/19 10:30:13 ET


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