Ducks return home to battle rolling Coyotes
(SportsNetwork.com) - Following a successful road trip, the Anaheim Ducks put their perfect home record on the line Wednesday night as they take on the Phoenix Coyotes in a matchup of streaking clubs.
The Ducks wrapped an eight-game swing with Monday's 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers, getting 32 saves from backup netminder Frederik Andersen. The rookie is 4-0-0 with a 1.36 goals against average across his first four NHL appearances, including three starts.
Corey Perry and Kyle Palmieri scored for the Ducks, who went 5-2-1 on their road trip.
"We dug deep for this one. It's always probably the toughest one, the last one of a long road trip before you get to go home. This one feels good," said Perry.
The Ducks lead the Pacific Division with 25 points, one more than both San Jose and Phoenix, thanks in part to their perfect 5-0-0 record at home, where they haven't played since a win over Dallas on Oct. 20. That was the last of a seven-game winning streak as Anaheim lost the first two on its road trip.
Still, the Ducks have outscored their opponents 21-8 at home this season and are on their longest winning streak as the hosting club since a club-record 13-game streak from Jan. 26-March 20 of last season.
Anaheim will play its next three games at home and could have forward Teemu Selanne back in action earlier than expected. The 43-year-old was expected to miss two weeks and undergo oral surgery after taking a stick to the mouth in Philadelphia on Oct. 29, but noted on Tuesday that all four of the teeth he lost were already fake. That prevented him from having to undergo surgery and he is considered day-to-day.
"I was very lucky. My mouth guard really saved me in this case. I'm feeling good now. I've been skating a couple days, and (Tuesday) was the third day already. I'm anxious to get back," said Selanne.
The Ducks could use Selanne as they host a Coyotes club that is on its first five-game winning streak since March 29-April 7 to close out the 2011-12 season. Each of Phoenix's last three wins have come in a shootout, including last night's 3-2 win over Vancouver.
Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan scored in regulation, while Antoine Vermette had the winner in the sixth round of the tiebreaker. Mike Smith made 31 saves as the Coyotes won their sixth in a row at home, where they are 7-0-1 this season.
"We'll take the points. It was a game of inches," Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett said. "It was a tight game, the kind of game we expected."
Tippett saw defenseman Rostislav Klesla return to action after missing four games with a lower-body injury, but fellow blueliner Derek Morris exited last night's contest dearly with a lower-body issue of his own.
Phoenix will play three of its next four on the road, where it is 4-3-1 this season. The club will be looking to win six straight overall for the first time since Feb. 16-28, 2012, a run that included three shootout wins and an overtime triumph.
The Coyotes won three of four versus the Ducks last season, winning twice in a shootout, before dropping a 3-2 shootout decision in Anaheim on Oct. 18. Selanne had a goal for Anaheim and Jonas Hiller made 30 saves.
Vermette and Klesla both had goals for the Coyotes and Smith stopped 37 shots.
Smith is 8-3-2 with a 2.66 GAA and two shutouts in his career versus the Ducks, but could give way to backup Thomas Greiss on the back end of games on consecutive nights. Greiss is 0-2-1 with a 2.34 GAA in four games versus the Ducks, including three starts.
Hiller is likely to start again for the Ducks and is 16-6-3 with a 2.51 GAA and two shutouts in 26 career starts versus the Coyotes, who have lost four of their past five in Anaheim.
11/06 10:40:12 ET