Anaheim Ducks vs. Arizona Coyotes: Game Preview, Line Rushes


The Anaheim Ducks return from the holiday break with a back-to-back from the outset, and they make an early trip to the desert to take on a Pacific Division foe in the Arizona Coyotes. The Ducks are 1-0-1 against the Coyotes this season, losing 3-2 in a shootout on November 7th and winning 2-1 on November 23rd. The Coyotes have lost 10 of 13 games, going 3-8-2 in that span. The Coyotes have allowed 112 goals on the season, fourth most in the league behind the Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres, and Dallas Stars.

For the Ducks, Corey Perry did not travel with the team to Arizona, and it doesn’t look like he will play tomorrow against the Vancouver Canucks either. Kyle Palmieri also did not travel, and head coach Bruce Boudreau said the speedy winger is about one to two weeks away from returning. Tim Jackman will also not play after taking a punch from John Scott on Monday’s game. Scott was suspended for four games for the incident, his second suspension of the season (both involving an incident with Jackman). Because of that, neither Emerson Etem nor Rickard Rakell will be sent to AHL Norfolk yet (they are waiver-exempt, so they are the most likely candidates to go when the Ducks get Perry and Palmieri back). This also means both Dany Heatley and Rene Bourque will play. Ryan Getzlaf has continued his marvelous season: the center has points in six straight games and 11 of 12, including a two-assist effort against the Sharks on Monday. Getzlaf has 39 points, good for fifth in the NHL, and his 27 assists are tied for third with Sidney Crosby and only behind Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux.

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

Anaheim Ducks Forward Lines:

Bourque – Getzlaf – Devante Smith-Pelly
Matt BeleskeyRyan Kesler – Etem
Patrick Maroon – Rakell – Jakob Silfverberg
Andrew CoglianoNate Thompson – Heatley

On the Ducks defense, Cam Fowler scored a huge goal on Monday to tie the score at two in the third period. Fowler has four goals and 18 points on the season. Francois Beauchemin will return to the lineup tonight after missing 13 games with a broken bone in his hand. Beauchemin has missed 18 of the Ducks’ 36 games with mumps and the broken finger, and he will play with Hampus Lindholm.

Anaheim Ducks Defense Pairings:

Fowler – Ben Lovejoy
Lindholm – Beauchemin
Clayton StonerSami Vatanen

For the Coyotes, they are coming off a 5-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Despite their 3-8-2 skid in their last 13 games, the Coyotes have all three of their wins over the Oilers in that span, and they swept the season series against Edmonton 5-0-0. Antoine Vermette leads all forwards with 22 points and 14 assists, while Mikkel Boedker has a team-high nine goals on the season. Captain Shane Doan has had tremendous success against the Ducks, scoring 33 goals in his career against the Ducks. That total is the most any one player has scored against the Ducks in the franchise’s history.

Arizona Coyotes Forward Lines:

Boedker – Vermette – Doan
Martin EratMartin HanzalSam Gagner
Tobias RiederKyle ChipchuraDavid Moss
Brandon McMillanJoe VitaleLauri Korpikoski

On the Coyotes defense, Keith Yandle leads the Coyotes in scoring with 23 points and 19 assists. Yandle is third among NHL defensemen in power-play points, with 14 (behind Kevin Shattenkirk and Erik Karlsson). Oliver Ekman-Larsson has eight goals, tied for the second most on the team, and three of those are game-winning goals in overtime. Ekman-Larsson also plays 25:52 per game, sixth most in the NHL behind Ryan Suter, Drew Doughty, Karlsson, Roman Josi, and Shea Weber.

Arizona Coyotes Defense Pairings:

Ekman-Larsson – Zbynek Michalek
Yandle – Michael Stone
Brandon GormleyConnor Murphy

In net, Frederik Andersen (19-5-4, 2.39 GAA, .914 SV%) will get the nod. Andersen stopped 30 of 32 shots in 60:58 against the Sharks on Monday and has won his last two starts, allowing just three goals on 56 shots (2-0-0, 1.49 GAA, .946 SV%). Opposing Andersen will be Devan Dubnyk (7-3-2, 2.65 GAA, .920 SV%), who has appeared in the last five games for the Coyotes, starting four of those. Dubnyk has seemingly become the starting goaltender for the Coyotes, as Mike Smith has struggled mightily (5-15-2, 3.48 GAA, .884 SV%).

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.