The Anaheim Ducks continue to dig themselves out of the early hole of a 1-7-2 start in the month of October as their current winning streak has stretched to four games. The Ducks face an Arizona Coyotes team that has come back to earth a bit since opening the season 3-0-0 and taking the first meeting at Honda Center.
Ducks: Saturday, 11/7 at San Jose. "Ducks Shut Out Sharks 1-0 For Fourth Straight Win"
Coyotes: Saturday, 11/7 vs New York Rangers. "Coyotes Fall 4-1 To Rangers As Smith Disappoints Again"
Anaheim's win in San Jose on Saturday was the first since March 19, 2012, going 0-5-2 in the seven games since. Corey Perry's lone goal was number 24 of his career against the Sharks, the most of any opponent (his 44 points against San Jose are also a most against another franchise) and his fifth game-winner against them. Only tonight's opposition has been on the losing side more thanks to a Perry tally; he's scored seven game-winning goals in 54 games against the Coyotes.
After being unable to crack the scoresheet until the fifth game of the season, both Ryan Getzlaf and Perry appear to be heating up for the Ducks. Since returning from appendectomy surgery Getzlaf has put up four assists in two games after getting just one helper in his first eight games. Perry is on a three-game point streak and has recorded a point in five of the past six games since mirroring the one assist in eight game start. Last season Getzlaf put up four points in five games against the desert dogs, while Perry had an assist in three games. For their careers Arizona has been the side Getzlaf has had his most success against, racking up 17 goals and 40 assists in 57 games; the Coyotes are Perry's second favorite opponent, putting up 42 points against them. This may also be a spot for Jakob Silfverberg to shake off his slow start- last season Silfverberg's two goals and three assists against Arizona lead Anaheim.
Despite shelling in the third period against San Jose, being out-attempted 22-10 at even strength and allowing 10 scoring chances (six high danger) while only getting three themselves, the Ducks had the better of both the five-on-five attempts (40-39) and scoring chances (20-18) for the game. Third pair Sami Vatanen and Clayton Stoner finished with the best shot attempt differentials defensively (+12 and +8), while the top pair of Cam Fowler and Kevin Bieksa held their own with Bieksa finishing +1 while Fowler was -2. To have two of three defense pairs near even or well above against a team that traditionally dominates in 'fancy' stat measures was a second consecutive positive result for the new defense combinations.
The rookie duo of Anthony Duclair and Max Domi stole the headlines against the Ducks in the first meeting, but since it's been Domi who has been the more consistent producer. After Duclair recorded his hat-trick against Anaheim he scored in two of the next three games, but since then has been on a seven-game scoreless skid after putting up points in five of his first six games this season. Domi has been much more consistent, putting together a four-game point streak from October 20-26 and making the scoresheet in eight of his first 11 games. He has been without a point in his past two games, the longest spell without a point of his young NHL career. In the meanwhile, team points leader Martin Hanzal (12 assists) has benefitted from playing most with Duclair at even strength as well as Tobias Rieder (who is tied for the team lead with five goals), while Hanzal has dished three power play assists.
Since recording his only shutout of the season against Anaheim, Mike Smith has come tumbling back to earth in a big way, looking much more like the Smith of last season than his first three years in Arizona. In his nine starts since, Smith has posted an .860 save percentage with a 4.33 goals against average, getting the hook twice (Arizona went on to lose both games with him avoiding the decision) while going 2-4-1 over the span. It's opened questions about whether or not backup Anders Lindback will get a shot, having won his only start of the season in Ottawa on October 24 and posting a .933 SV% and 1.67 GAA in 180 minutes of action.
For what it's worth, Lindback has a
Two hours before face off we'll have the game thread up, featuring the full Stat Pack, likely with expected lines, and of course your Numbers For Nerds.