Anaheim Ducks Line Rushes vs. Arizona Coyotes: 11/07/2014

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The Anaheim Ducks are looking to rebound off a 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Friday against a Pacific Division opponent in the Arizona Coyotes. This is the second game of the Ducks’ four game homestand and their second division game of the season. Friday’s game is the first of four straight Pacific Division matchups for the Ducks, who will draw Vancouver on Sunday and Los Angeles on a home-and-home on Wednesday and next Saturday. The Ducks currently sit atop the Pacific Division with 21 points but only lead by one point. The Coyotes, a team noted for strong defensive play, has really struggled in that area this season, ranking 29th in goals against per game. Arizona currently sits at the sixth spot in the Pacific Division and 13th in the Western Conference with 11 standings points, though they have won two games in a row.

Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry both missed Wednesday’s game against the Islanders with flu-like symptoms. Head coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed that Getzlaf will return to the lineup, while Perry will not. While this normally would mean that either Rickard Rakell or William Karlsson would sit, Dany Heatley will be scratched for the third time in four games, while Rakell will be used at a wing position. Matt Beleskey has been terrific to start the season, with six goals in 14 games after scoring nine in 55 contests last season. Beleskey is on pace to shatter his career best of 11 goals in 2009-2010, and as he picks up assists, he should top his career-best 24 points from last season as well.

Per Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register, here are the expected lineups for both teams tonight.

Anaheim Ducks Forward Lines:

Patrick Maroon – Getzlaf – Devante Smith-Pelly
Beleskey – Ryan KeslerJakob Silfverberg
Andrew Cogliano – Karlsson – Emerson Etem
Rakell – Nate ThompsonTim Jackman

On the Ducks defense, Bryan Allen will make his return from the Injured Reserve and play for the first time this season. Presumably, Josh Manson will draw back out of the lineup. Cam Fowler continues his strong play for Anaheim, as his nine points are tied for third on the team and his +5 rating is also third on the team. Fowler, with an assist on Wednesday, has a three game point streak. Sami Vatanen got his eighth point of the season on Beleskey’s goal on Wednesday, which is fifth on the team. Vatanen’s points have all come on the power-play, and his eight power-play points are the most on the team and tied for second in the NHL among defensemen (with Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and Penguins defenseman Kris Letang).

Anaheim Ducks Defense Pairings:

Fowler – Clayton Stoner
Hampus LindholmFrancois Beauchemin
Allen – Vatanen

For the Arizona Coyotes, the team is coming off a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Antoine Vermette netted the game-winner and leads all Coyotes forwards with nine points. Mikkel Boedker has a hat trick already this year and leads Arizona with five goals, while captain Shane Doan has three goals and eight points. Arizona traded for Sam Gagner in the offseason to try and strengthen the center position, but he only has two goals and four assists in 12 games this season, though his two goals have come in his last two games. Brandon McMillan, whom the Ducks traded to the Coyotes in 2013, has one assist in 12 games for Arizona while playing fourth line minutes.

Arizona Coyotes Forward Lines:

Tobias Rieder – Vermette – Doan
Lauri Korpikoski – Gagner – Boedker
Rob KlinkhammerMartin HanzalMartin Erat
McMillan – Joe VitaleB.J. Crombeen

The Coyotes are built from their blue-line, and it is a position of strength and depth for this team. Keith Yandle leads the team with nine assists and ten points. Yandle’s nine power-play points puts him at tops in the NHL among defensemen. He is second in total ice-time on the Coyotes and tops in 5-on-5 ice time, playing over 20 minutes a night at even strength. Oliver Ekman-Larsson leads the Coyotes with 26:25 of ice time per game and is second among Coyotes defensemen with eight points. However, Ekman-Larsson is currently tied with Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O’Reilly and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson for the worst +/- in the NHL, at -11.

Arizona Coyotes Defense Pairings:

Ekman-Larsson – Zbynek Michalek
Yandle – Connor Murphy
Brandon GormleyMichael Stone

In net, Frederik Andersen (7-1-0, 1.60 GAA, .941 SV%) will get the nod between the pipes. Andersen was available on Wednesday, but the Ducks held him out for precautionary reasons and the hope that he would be fully recovered from the leg tightness that forced him to miss Sunday’s game against the Avalanche and play as the backup in Wednesday’s game against the Islanders. Opposing Andersen will be Mike Smith (3-6-0, 3.63 GAA, .880 SV%).  Smith has had his struggles in net this season, giving up at least four goals in four of his first six starts (including three separate six goal outings). However, Smith has played well in his last three starts, posting a .923 SV% and a 2.35 GAA. Though his record in his last three starts was 1-2-0, Smith received one goal of support in those two losses. Smith was selected as the third goalie of the 2014 Canadian Olympic Team last season.

Jason Byun is the editor for Pucks of a Feather. He can be found on Twitter. For more Anaheim Ducks coverage, follow Pucks of a Feather on Twitter or like us on Facebook.