November 25 feels like forever and a day ago, the last time the Anaheim Ducks crossed paths with the Arizona Coyotes. Yet the desert dogs have already clinched the season series with three wins, including two at Honda Center. With the Ducks a point up with two games in hand on the 'Yotes for the final Pacific Division playoff spot, getting a result against a team that's bedeviled them thus far to keep the winning streak going and shove off for a seven-game road trip on the right track.
Ducks: Thursday, 2/4 at Los Angeles (W 4-2). "GAMER: Ducks Deliver In Emphatic 4-2 Win Over Kings"
Coyotes: Thursday, 2/4 vs Chicago (OL 4-5). "Coyotes Rally Against Chicago, But Fall In Overtime"
The offense that wasn't for seemingly the entire first half of the season? Anaheim has now scored 35 goals in their last ten games since being shut out by Toronto on January 6, with the team scoring four or more goals in six of them. It's been a big part of the team putting together their longest winning streak of the season at five games, and a 12-3-1 mark since the Christmas break. The combination of Ryan Getzlaf and David Perron has been lethal, with the captain riding four-game point streak with his first even strength goal in 299 days and five assists, while Perron has three goals and five assists in six games with the Ducks. The right wing on the line Chris Stewart has gotten in on it as well with assists in his last three games, and a goal five games ago.
Hampus Lindholm's highlight reel thumping of Anze Kopitar with a strong check along the boards, then beating Kopitar with a deke at the line and blasting home his second goal in as many games was the exclamation point to the win in LA. He's Anaheim's best even strength shot attempt percentage player at 57.66, while second pair partner Josh Manson is right behind him at 57.62 and has been a growing story for the team. Their offensive drive has helped both Frederik Andersen and John Gibson put together strong runs between the pipes. Freddie has won his last four starts and in his last six appearances has a .941 save percentage, while Gibson is unbeaten in his last three with a .923 SV%.
Arizona is beginning to fall back to where many expected before the season they'd be, as they're winless in the past three games and have gone 2-5-2 in their last nine with seven being at home. Forward leading scorer Mikkel Boedker snapped a brief three game scoreless skein with a goal in the loss to Chicago, but it was just his second point in the past eight games. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who shares the team lead in scoring with Boedker, had a big goal and two assist night against the Hawks, but also was suffering with just a point in the previous seven games before that. The rookies who've given Anaheim issues in the previous meetings have been sputtering some as well, with Max Domi goalless in the past nine games since a hat trick against Edmonton, though he's had an assist in back-to-back games. Anthony Duclair, who's scored five of his 14 goals and has two game winners against the Ducks, broke a six game scoreless streak with goals in consecutive games before being held off the scoresheet against Chicago.
The Coyotes are one of the best teams in the league on the dots with a 53.9% face off winning percentage, but they've struggled at suppressing shots, allowing 30.6 per game. With Mike Smith on injured reserve, the team has turned to Louis Domingue in the crease, and he's put up respectable numbers. The 24-year old to be former fifth round draft choice has a .915 SV%, but has played the last seven for the Coyotes and given up five goals in each of the last three games. It could be Anders Lindback who draws the start with Arizona on the second leg of a back-to-back. Despite an underwhelming .896 SV%, he made 33 saves in a win at Honda Center on November 9, but has not started since a 14 save 2-0 loss at home against New Jersey on January 16 with just two period or less relief appearances since.
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.