NHL Hockey: Phoenix Coyotes at Anaheim Ducks – Ducks Favored
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The Anaheim Ducks have been tough to slow at home this season, but their success against the Phoenix Coyotes at the Honda Center goes back much further than that.
The Ducks go for their 10th straight home victory over the Coyotes when the Pacific Division rivals meet on Wednesday.
Anaheim is 21-5-7 at home this season and looking to tie its season-best four-game winning streak there. The Ducks’ current eight-game homestand, tied for the longest in club history, began with impressive wins over San Jose and Nashville.
Anaheim (39-17-11) trailed the Predators by two goals in the first period on Sunday before rallying for a 3-2 shootout win. Leading scorer Teemu Selanne scored in regulation and had the deciding goal in the shootout for the Ducks, who outshot Nashville 35-14, including 16-3 over the third period and overtime.
Division-leading Anaheim has won four of its last five and earned a point in nine of 10 – a stretch that began with a 5-4 overtime win over the Coyotes (27-35-3) on Feb. 15. Selanne recorded two goals and an assist in that victory, including the game-winner to help the Ducks overcome a three-goal deficit. He has seven goals and eight assists in the last 10 games.
The veteran right wing has four goals and nine assists in six matchups with Phoenix this season, and 63 points in 54 games. Anaheim rookie left wing Dustin Penner also scored in the Ducks’ latest win over the Coyotes and forced overtime Sunday with his third-period goal.
He is riding a four-game goal streak, the longest by a rookie in club history, with five in that span. Penner’s 24 goals this season are also a team record for a rookie and he is three points shy of matching the club mark of 41, set by Chris Kunitz last season.
"I’m playing a lot different game now than I was in my first and second year as a pro," Penner said. "You have to find that area of the game that you can hang your hat on, and mine is down low in the corners, using my size and creating space for other players."
He will try to continue that play against the Coyotes, who Anaheim has outscored 40-19 in nine consecutive home wins. The Ducks are 15-1-1 with a tie in the last 18 overall matchups between the teams and have taken five of six meetings this season, converting 39.3 percent of their power-play opportunities.
The Coyotes have dropped nine of their last 11, including a 4-3 defeat to Columbus on Saturday. Keith Ballard assisted on Shane Doan’s first-period goal and gave Phoenix a 2-1 lead when he scored early in the second, but the Coyotes gave up three unanswered goals en route to the loss.
Phoenix’s first two goals came on the power play, and the Coyotes are 7-for-16 with the man advantage over their last four games.
"We capitalized early in the game and had the opportunity late, but we didn’t utilize the chances," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky. "There was not a lack of effort on our part. I thought we tried everything we could to get the goal."
The Coyotes will likely find it difficult to boost that offense as Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere is 14-7-1 with a tie and a 2.28 goals-against average in 24 games against them – his most wins versus any opponent. Giguere has won five straight home meetings with Phoenix, posting a 2.18 GAA.
by: Gary Roberts – theSpread.com – Email Us
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