Division match-ups are always pivotal no matter when they happen. For both the Arizona Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks, they are desperate for wins for different reasons.
The Arizona Coyotes (9-10-2) have had a rough week before traveling to California. Losses to the Washington Capitals and Dallas Stars with an abysmal offense, scoring just two goals on 51 total shots, has been the story line for most of the season. They though look to carry some of that momentum from a solid outing against San Jose last night, jumping out to a 2-0 lead and held on to win 4-3 in a shootout.
Shane Doan has been the team’s main target on the road, scoring all seven of his goals away from Gila River Arena. Defenseman David Schlemko, who was called back from Portland a few days ago, has scored a goal and an assist in his first two games back. He started the season with just one assist in seven games.
Mike Smith will start at goal after resting up for tonight. Even though Devan Dubynk is having a better year at goal (5-0-1), Smith is 9-5-2 against Anaheim, including a 37 save performance his last outing.
Anaheim (12-4-5) leads the Western Conference and has earned points in nine of their last 10 games. They look to add more to their depth as they signed forward Rene Bourque from Montreal in a trade for Brian Kennedy. The 32-year-old was goalless with two assists with the team this year, but his presence in the playoffs last year had been key. He managed to practice Saturday, but is unsure if he will see any ice time.
The Ducks last year swept the Coyotes 5-0, but Arizona got their redemption winning in a shootout on November 7 to start their series.