By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will begin a four-game trip tonight when they play the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (35-23-11) will enter the game in seventh place in the Western Conference standings and looking to earn at least one point for a fourth consecutive game. The Coyotes captured five of six points last week during a three-game homestand vs. Detroit, Vancouver and Calgary.
Tonight's game will be the last of six against Anaheim this season. Phoenix is 2-3-0 vs. the Ducks, who trail the Coyotes by just two points in the standings.
► Click here
to see the standings for both conferences.
is expected to start in goal for the Coyotes against the team that drafted him 44th overall in 2000 and then waived him in 2007.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan
will try to extend his point streak to four games. Doan has excelled vs. Anaheim this season with two goals and five assists in five games. In those games, he has taken 29 shots on goal.
Winger Taylor Pyatt
has scored the game-winning goal in both of Phoenix's victories over Anaheim this season. Moreover, the Coyotes are 11-1-1 in the games in which Pyatt has scored a goal.
The Coyotes are hoping winger Ray Whitney
will return to the lineup after missing the past two games because of a lower-body injury. Whitney, who ranks second on the team with 50 points, practiced on Saturday. Head Coach Dave Tippett said Whitney would be a game-time decision. Meanwhile, center Martin Hanzal
(lower-body injury) and defenseman Rostislav Klesla
(upper-body injury) are not expected to play.
|Photo by Getty Images.
The Ducks (37-26-5) will enter the game having won five of their last six contests, including two in a row in which they scored 11 goals.
"They've got a pretty good two top lines there we've got to worry about and they play a hard game," Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski
said. "So we've just got to keep going and just tighten it up a little bit defensively even more. Even though we got the shutout last game (vs. Calgary on Thursday), I think we had times we weren't that solid in our own end."
Anaheim ranks fourth in the NHL in power-play efficiency at 21.7 percent. Right wing Teemu Selanne is fourth in the league with 11 power-play goals. Right wing Corey Perry is right behind him with 10 and center Ryan Getzlaf has seven.
Goalie Dan Ellis has posted a 5-1-1 record and a 2.22 goals-against average since coming to the Ducks on Feb. 24 in a trade with Tampa Bay. Ellis has been minding Anaheim's net in place of All-Star goalie Jonas Hiller, who is sidelined because of vertigo symptoms.
"He's been great for us," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler told the Orange County Register. "We know that we can rely on him back there to make all the big saves."