Arizona Coyotes Face Ducks in First of Two in Anaheim

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Arizona Coyotes embark upon critical stretch of games with “at or below .500” Division teams, beginning with a two-game set against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Arizona Coyotes hope to rebound from their poor performance against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night by beating the eighth place Anaheim Ducks (11-20-6 28 pts) on Friday and Sunday nights. The Ducks are 3-7-0 in their last ten games, while the Coyotes are 4-5-1.

Both teams currently have significant goalkeeping challenges, with Ryan Miller getting most of the work due to an injury to John Gibson for the Ducks, and Adin Hill having to carry the load while both Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta are shelved because of injuries.

You can bet that both the Ducks and the Coyotes will come out focused on Friday night, as both teams were embarrassed by the Colorado Avalanche. The Ducks were beaten 5 to 2, while the Coyotes, as you know, were slapped around even worse.

Let’s take a look at some of the current Ducks and Coyotes stat comparisons, and see which players are most likely to have the most impact on the next couple of games.

Rickard Rakell – 22 pts
Max Comtois – 21 pts
Adam Henrique – 16 pts
Clayton Keller – 28 pts
Conor Garland – 27 pts
Phil Kessel – 26 pts

Max Comtois – 10
Adam Henrique – 10
Phil Kessel – 14
Clayton Keller and Christian Dvorak – 11 apiece

Rickard Rakell – 15
Cam Fowler – 12
Ryan Getzlaf – 12
Conor Garland – 17
Clayton Keller – 17

Faceoff Percentage
Adam Henrique – 55.91%
Ryan Getzlaf – 50.97%
Clayton Keller – 50%
Christian Dvorak – 54.37%

Ryan Miller GP 14 (W 3 – L 8 – OT 1) GAA: 3.60 Save percentage: .882
Adin Hill GP 9 (W 4 – L 4 – OT 1) GAA: 3.20 Save percentage: .913

The Ducks have a handful of promising youngsters that are getting progressively more minutes. Those talented players include Max Comtois, Trevor Zegras, and Jamie Drysdale. They recently acquired forward Alex Volkov, who came over from the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 24.

As in all sports, a competitor has to consistently out-think, out-hustle, and out-play his/her opponent to win, and it’s normally the one-on-one battles that ultimately decide the winner. The Yotes don’t need much motivation by virtue of suffering a humiliating loss to Colorado, but they need to perform effectively as well.

The Anaheim Ducks want to put their loss to the Avalanche behind them too. They’ve scored 12 goals and given up 13 in their last 5 games, all away, with 2 wins and 3 losses. Winning their next two games on home ice is just the remedy the Ducks need to right themselves and, at the very least, play the role of spoilers within the Division.

The next two games should be real physical battles, as the pressure mounts for teams jockeying for playoff position. The Ducks have a game in hand on the Coyotes, and both sides have something to prove. The Coyotes cannot afford to take the Anaheim Ducks lightly, and they know it. Doing something about it is an entirely different matter. They’ll need to start fast, keep the energy up, and the momentum going for 60 minutes. Let’s go Coyotes!