By Anthony Perez | Dave Vest
The Coyotes will play the first of back-to-back home games tonight when they host the Anaheim Ducks at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
, who has missed the past five games due to an upper-body injury, is expected to start in net against the Ducks, the team that drafted him in 2000 and then waived him in 2007.
► Click here
to watch a video of Bryzgalov answering questions about his return to the lineup.
For the Coyotes (16-11-7), this will be the third game of a four-game stretch against Pacific Division opponents, and the first chance to play on home ice since Dec. 11. Phoenix will host Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
“We haven’t been there (at Jobing.com Arena) in a while,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said after Monday's practice at the Ice Den in Scottsdale. “So it’ll be good to get back there, get that home feeling back. Hopefully around the Christmas season the crowds pick up, and we’re looking at two very competitive games there this week with division opponents.”
Coyotes defenseman Adrian Aucoin
said he and his teammates need to take the momentum from Sunday’s 1-0 win at Dallas into the back-to-back home games.
“We have to establish our home ice the way we can do it,” Aucoin said. “...The last game was a great step in the right direction, but we have to keep it going.”
|Photo by Getty Images.
Tippett said forward Radim Vrbata
is still day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, forward Taylor Pyatt
(upper-body injury) skated with teammates on Tuesday morning and is close to coming off the injured-reserve list.
The Ducks (18-17-4) are coming off a 4-1 road loss to Los Angeles on Sunday night.
Anaheim's top player on offense is Corey Perry, who has 19 goals and 22 assists for 41 points in 39 games. Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne each have more than 30 points this season.
Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller has appeared in 33 games. His record is 16-13-3 with a 2.65 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage with two shutouts.
The Coyotes lost the first two games vs. Anaheim this season, but they won the last meeting between the teams on Dec. 5 at the Honda Center. Pyatt, Shane Doan
and Lee Stempniak
notched goals, while Bryzgalov stopped all 26 shots he faced in a 3-0 win.