DUCKS (16-6-3) at COYOTES (14-4-4)
Season series: It's the third of five meetings between the Anaheim Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes, but the first one at Jobing.com Arena. The Ducks have won twice at Honda Center, 3-2 in a shootout on Oct. 18 and 5-2 on Nov. 6.
Big story: The Ducks come to the desert for the first time this season on top of the overall standings after a 1-0 overtime victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday. But beating the Coyotes won't be easy -- Phoenix and the Ducks are the only two teams that have not lost in regulation at home.
Coyotes: Phoenix has points in all 11 of its home games, but it's the one that got away Thursday that had Head Coach Dave Tippett upset. The Coyotes rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, only to have the visitors tie the game with 3:14 left in regulation and win it on Ryan O'Reilly's power-play goal in OT.
That goal came with defenseman Keith Yandle in the box after the Coyotes had killed off a Colorado power play earlier in the extra period.
“That should be a good lesson for us,” Tippett said. “Discipline, making the wrong play at the wrong time or taking a penalty at the wrong time can cost you a point or two.”
Captain Shane Doan will enter the game with a seven-game point streak. He's scored six of his team-leading 10 goals during that run while adding three assists.
Doan is pleased with the team's record but knows it will be challenging for the Coyotes to separate from the other Western Conference contenders in the standings.
“If you had the start that we had, you thought you’d have a little bit of breathing room, but we don’t,” Doan said. “Because of that, it doesn’t really feel like you’ve accomplished anything. I couldn’t tell you the order of where everyone is, but I know there’s a group of eight of us that are all really tight. It’s going to be fun for the rest of the year."
Mike Smith will start in goal for Phoenix, which is 9-0-2 in 11 games at home this year, tying the team's record for the longest home point streak set in 1983-84 and 1998-99.
Smith is 8-4-2 with two shutouts, a 2.75 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage in 15 career games against the Ducks.
Ducks: Anaheim pounded away for almost 65 minutes against Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop on Friday night without any success and was less than six seconds away from going to a shootout before winning the game on a fluke goal. Bishop stopped Ryan Getzlaf's shot, only to have teammate Richard Panik accidentally knock the puck into his own net for the win.
The lucky goal gave Jonas Hiller a shutout victory on a night when he got the call at the last minute after Viktor Fasth suffered a lower-body injury in pregame warmups. The pregame ceremonies honoring Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer gave him some extra time to get ready.
"I found out after warmups," he said of being told he'd play against the Lightning. "I'm glad we honored Scotty, so I had a few more minutes to mentally prepare."
Who's hot: The Coyotes lead the NHL with 19 goals from their defensemen. Michael Stone scored against Colorado and is tied with Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators for the League lead with seven... Getzlaf has goals in three consecutive games and has scored six times in the Ducks' past five games.
Injury report: Phoenix will play without defenseman Zbynek Michalek (lower body), who's on IR, as well as forward Lauri Korpikoski (upper body)... The Ducks say Fasth isn't likely to be available and are expected to recall a goalie, likely Frederik Andersen. They placed defenseman Francois Beauchemin (upper body) on injured reserve prior to the game Friday. Center Saku Koivu (head), forward Jakob Silfverberg (broken hand) and defenseman Sheldon Souray (wrist) are out.
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