Ducks vs. Coyotes Preview

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PHOENIX, AZ - While the Phoenix Coyotes continue their surge, the Anaheim Ducks are mired in their roughest stretch of the season.

The Coyotes look to extend their winning streak to eight games while trying to hand the visiting Ducks a seventh consecutive defeat Saturday night.

After going 4-5-5 the first month of the season, Phoenix (11-5-5) has won seven in a row to climb to the top of the Pacific Division.

Oddsmakers from online sports book have made the Coyotes -162 moneyline favorites for Saturday's game against the Ducks, Current Public Betting Information shows that  68% of 4,620 bets for this game have been placed on the Coyotes -162.

Matchups say the Ducks are averaging 2.5 goals per game and allowing 3.0 per game, while the Coyotes average 3.0 and give up 2.8 per game.

"No one is shocked we've won seven in a row," forward Lee Stempniak told the Coyotes' official website. "We played well below our standards and our expectations for the first 10-12 games."

Anaheim (10-11-3), meanwhile, is 0-4-2 since opening November with six straight wins.

While the Ducks have been outscored 19-10 during their skid, the Coyotes own a 27-14 scoring advantage during their longest winning stretch since a nine-game run March 4-21.

"I think we have a good roll now and we've got to keep it rolling,'' said Martin Hanzal, who has four goals in five games after scoring twice during a 5-0 win over Edmonton on Tuesday.

The Coyotes have a good chance to do so against the Ducks, who have been outscored 16-6 while losing four straight at Phoenix.

Phoenix's Ilya Bryzgalov has a 1.44 goals-against average during that winning stretch against his former team, and stopped 53 shots during a pair of 4-0 wins in the teams' last two meetings at Arena.

Bryzgalov, who has a 2.14 GAA during his personal six-game winning streak, made 23 saves against the Oilers for his first shutout of the season.

Stempniak had two goals with an assist and Wojtek Wolski added one of each for the Coyotes, 7-0-2 since falling 6-3 at Dallas on Nov. 5.

"We're only just past the 20-game mark,'' Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "I'll get excited when I feel we're good enough to do something. It's early.''

Tippett knows his team must keep things in perspective, especially with the uncertain status of defensemen Ed Jovanovski (flu) and Adrian Aucoin (lower-body injury).

Though the Ducks are trying to avoid losing seven in a row for the first time since an eight-game skid Nov. 3-20, 2005, they beat Phoenix 3-2 at home on Oct. 17.

Anaheim's Corey Perry had a goal with an assist in that contest but has gone without a point in his last two games.

Dan Sexton scored in Anaheim's 4-1 loss to Chicago on Friday. The second-year winger has a goal and an assist in his last two games.

The Ducks hope to have 40-year-old Teemu Selanne back after he missed a second straight game with a groin injury. Selanne is second on the team with 22 points.

Jonas Hiller could be back in net after making 24 saves before being pulled in the third period Friday. Hiller has allowed 16 goals during his personal five-game skid. He has a 3.60 GAA while going 0-2-1 in his last four starts at Phoenix.

Backup Curtis McElhinney, 2-2-1 with a 2.77 GAA, has never faced the Coyotes.

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