Saturday, February 24th, 5:00PM PST
Gila River Arena
Radio: AM 830
The Enemy: Five For Howling
The Anaheim Ducks (31-20-11, 73 points) will take on the Arizona Coyotes (17-33-10, 44 points) Saturday night at the Gila River Arena. The Ducks have been on a roll lately winning four consecutive games, which is their longest streak of the season, and six of their last eight. In their last two games, they have recorded back-to-back shutouts with the most recent coming against the Dallas Stars. This will be the third of four matchups against Arizona this year, with the Ducks winning the previous two. The Ducks will hope that trend continues as they currently hold the seventh place spot in the competitive Western Conference.
The Coyotes recently lost to the Calgary Flames 5-2 Thursday night and are at the bottom of the Western Conference. Although the playoffs are out of reach for the Coyotes, they have been a tough matchup recently, having gone 5-1-1 in their last seven games.
All Eyes On Me
Ducks backup goalie, Ryan Miller, will be making his second consecutive start for the injured John Gibson. Since taking over for Gibson Monday night in Vegas, he has posted 80-minutes of scoreless hockey while making 61 combined saves. Look for him to carry that momentum into Arizona and attempt to make it a third consecutive shutout for Anaheim.
Keys To The Game
The Ducks are playing their best hockey of the season right now and seem to be feeding off of their goalie’s stellar play. They will need to maintain focus, however, and not overlook the Coyotes. Although they are last in the conference, the Coyotes have shown the ability this month to be a tough opponent and will most certainly love to play spoiler to Anaheim’s playoff chances.
Look for special teams to play a big factor in tonight’s game as well. It’s been referenced many times this season that Anaheim is one of the highest penalized teams in the NHL as they have been the last few seasons. However, their penalty kill unit has been solid in their last 4 wins killing off 13 of their last 14 and also scoring a short handed goal. In an ideal world, the Ducks would love to not have to play shorthanded in Arizona, but with the way the team has been penalized this year, it’s highly unlikely that will happen unless they change their name to the Golden Knights. As for their power play, they have converted 2 of their last 7 chances during their winning streak. Even with the missed chances, they have shown much better puck movement and have been doing a great job getting to the net and setting up screens. When the Ducks crash the net and are aggressive, good things tend to happen.