NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, January 18th (All times Eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (21-18-7) at Anaheim Ducks (15-22-7), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Ducks have been one of the NHL's most disappointing clubs this season, but Anaheim's 5-0-1 record in its last six trips to the ice is giving hockey fans in Orange County reason for hope.
The surging Ducks will try to keep heading in the right direction tonight, when they host the Phoenix Coyotes in a Pacific Division clash at the Honda Center.
Anaheim, which is seeded 14th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference, had just one win in eight games prior to their current six-game point streak and the resurgence of the team's offense has been a big reason for the improved play. The Ducks have scored 25 times in the last six games and that's including a 1-0 overtime loss to Calgary last Thursday.
The Ducks, who are 21st in the league in scoring, have followed the shutout loss to the Flames by scoring a total of nine goals in consecutive wins over Edmonton and Vancouver. Anaheim was last in action Sunday against the Canucks and Jason Blake had two goals and an assist to lead the Ducks to a 4-2 triumph over the defending Western Conference champions.
"If we play like we did tonight, we should be okay," said Blake. "It was a great team win. Now we just have to keep it going."
Nick Bonino and Bobby Ryan also lit the lamp for the Ducks, while Jonas Hiller made 21 saves in the win. Ryan scored for the second straight game and also recorded an assist for Anaheim.
The Ducks wrapped a three-game road trip Sunday in Vancouver and are kicking off a three-game homestand tonight. Anaheim is 10-12-1 as the host this year compared to a 5-10-6 road record.
In other news, Anaheim forward Jean-Francois Jacques is eligible to return from a three-game suspension tonight. He was given the ban for elbowing R.J. Umberger of Columbus in the head on Jan. 8.
Phoenix ended a three-game slide with an offensive explosion Monday against visiting Colorado. The Coyotes received two goals each from Shane Doan and Boyd Gordon en route to downing the Avalanche by a 6-1 score. Doan is tied for second on the team with 14 goals, but Gordon notched just his fourth and fifth tallies of the season.
"It doesn't happen very often and it's great to see that different people can contribute when we're winning," Gordon said of his rare burst of offense.
Mike Smith also made 38 saves for the win and Phoenix didn't allow Colorado to get a single power-play opportunity in the dominant performance. Gilbert Brule and Rostislav Klesla also lit the lamp for the Coyotes, who are 12 points ahead of Anaheim, but two points out of a playoff spot in the West.
Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin (lower body) and forward Raffi Torres (undisclosed) are questionable for tonight's game.
Phoenix is 12-10-4 as the guest this year and will return to the desert for a six-game homestand following tonight's test in the Mile High City.
The Coyotes have taken two of three so far from Anaheim this year and Phoenix has won five of seven overall in this series. The clubs have split the last six meetings at the Honda Center.
01/18 10:39:16 ET