The Phoenix Coyotes home jersey, I actually prefer their alternate black jersey, which I think is their best uniform. (via hockey-jerseys.ca)

Preview of Game 21: Phoenix Coyotes

The Ducks continue to search for answers as they pay a visit to Phoenix tonight to play the Phoenix Coyotes for the second time this season. 

Season Series: 1-0 PHX

Last Matchup: 5-4 PHX

On October 23rd, the Coyotes came to Anaheim and jumped on the Ducks early. Martin Hanzal scored just under five minutes into the game, but the Ducks answered with a goal from Lubo four minutes later. The Ducks scored again when Getzy scored with six minutes left in the period. However, Martin Hanzal blasted his second goal of the game not even a minute later to tie the game back up. The second period was all Coyotes as they scored three straight goals within the first eight minutes of the period, Boyd Gordon, Lauri Korpikoski and Keith Yandle scored in that order. Kurtis Foster got his first goal as a Duck late in the period to make it a 5-3 game with a snap shot from the point that had eyes. The Ducks third period surge could only register one goal, Getzy, his second of the game, just before the last minute of the period. Hiller was replaced by Dan Ellis after he had given up the fifth goal from Yandle. It is safe to say this was one of Hiller’s worst performances this season. Ellis came in a didn’t allow a goal, but didn’t face nearly as many shots as Hiller. Overall, it looked like a typical Ducks game this season; a bad start with a late surge at the end that wasn’t enough.

Breakdown of the Coyotes:

The Coyotes are coming off of a game in Washington on Monday that ended in a 4-3 win for the Caps. The Coyotes were dominated for most of the game, however they held a two-goal lead in the second period after a short-handed goal from Radim Vrbata in the first period and another short-handed goal/penalty shot from Lauri Korpikoski. The Caps finally got on board and took the lead early in the third period. The Coyotes played their best in the third period but a lone goal from Korpikoski, his second of the game, was not enough for the Coyotes to come back. Korpikoski really played well in that game but hasn’t been consistent. He has had stretches of very good play but then will disappear for a while. Forwards Ray Whitney and Radim Vrbata have been the most productive for the Coyotes while Shane Doan is having a little bit of a down year but is still very dangerous. It doesn’t look like the Coyotes will have either Kyle Turris, who recently ended his holdout, or Daymond Langkow, who is on a leave of absence for a death in the family, tonight against the Ducks. Also, defenseman Michal Roszival is still out with an upper body injury. Mike Smith is the projected starter in net, but I have not seen any confirmation just yet.

Keys to the Game:

  • PHX: Score first, the Coyotes are one of the best in the league when they score first.
  • PHX: Forget about their last two games where they squandered leads.
  • ANA: Find their game.
  • ANA: Get off to a good start for once. It’s incredible how many times this team has gotten off to dreadful starts.

Players to Watch:

  • PHX – Lauri Korpikoski: A very streaky player and after their last game, he is getting warm.
  • PHX – Radim Vrbata: A bit of a surprise, he is their leading goal-scorer. Also, he has three goals in his last two games.
  • ANA – Teemu Selanne: He remains their best player right now. He’s got two goals and two assists in his last three games.
  • ANA – Andrew Cogliano: He’s looked his best in the last few games. He’s been showing off his great speed that has opened up the ice for some good opportunities.

Prediction:

It’s tough to say when this long drought will end for the Ducks. I do think they’re getting better, but it’s a very long and slow incline. There is a lot of pressure being put on Cam Fowler, some of it his own. He is showing maturity beyond his age, which is a great sign. He has been pretty good I think except for a few big mistakes, for example, his mistake against the Red Wings that led to a big goal for the Wings. The youngsters need to step up in order to turn this around. I will look forward to the line combination of Hagman-Maxwell-Smith-Pelly, even though I’m no fan of Smith-Pelly, Maxwell looked great in his first game as a Duck and I have also been impressed with Hagman so far as well. The Coyotes are a tough team, much tougher than some have anticipated, so it won’t be an easy game for the Ducks. Then again, there is no such thing as an easy game for the Ducks this season.

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Tags: Anaheim Ducks Andrew Cogliano Ben Maxwell Boyd Gordon Cam Fowler Dan Ellis Daymond Langkow Devante Smith-Pelly Jonas Hiller Keith Yandle Kurtis Foster Kyle Turris Lauri Korpkoski Lubomir Visnovsky Martin Hanzal Michal Roszival Niklas Hagman Phoenix Coyotes Radim Vrbata Ray Whitney Ryan Getzlaf Shane Doan Teemu Selanne

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