Menu

HOCKEY

Coyotes try to avoid third straight loss in meeting with Ducks

The Phoenix Coyotes will try to avoid their first three- place Anaheim Ducks for tonight's Pacific Division clash at the Honda Center.

The Coyotes, who are tied for second in the Pacific Division with San Jose, have dropped their last two games against Detroit and Minnesota and were outscored by a combined 9-3 margin in those setbacks. It marks the fourth two- game slide of the year for Phoenix, which last dropped three games in a row during an 0-4-1 slide from Feb. 23-March 3 of last season.

After losing Thursday's game by a 5-2 score in Detroit, the Coyotes were dealt a 4-1 loss this past Saturday by visiting Minnesota. Kyle Brodziak tallied twice and Niklas Backstrom made 35 saves to help the Wild hand Phoenix its fourth loss in six games this month.

Lauri Korpikoski netted the lone goal for Phoenix, while Mike Smith made 16 saves in a losing effort. The Wild went 3-for-4 on the power play, while the Coyotes failed to score on four opportunities with the man advantage.

"It was a battle of specialty teams and they won it," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said.

The Coyotes have a solid 9-5-1 record as the visiting team this year and will be on the road for tonight's game only before returning to the desert for a two-game homestand against Edmonton and the New York Rangers.

The Ducks have also lost two straight and four of five, but that's just the tip of the iceberg for Anaheim, which has also dropped nine of 11 and 17 of its last 20 contests.

Anaheim, which is last in the Western Conference, has not fared any better since firing head coach Randy Carlyle, as Bruce Boudreau is just 1-3-1 behind the Ducks bench. The latest loss came Saturday in Nashville with Jordin Tootoo recording a goal and an assist to help the Predators edge the Ducks, 3-2.

Francois Beauchemin and Andrew Gordon both scored for the Ducks, while Dan Ellis was touched for all three goals on 28 shots. Teemu Selanne added an assist to give him one goal and six helpers during a five-game point streak.

Ducks forward Saku Koivu missed Saturday's game with a lower body injury and is questionable for tonight.

Anaheim is on home ice for just one game before heading out on a five-game road trip. The Ducks are 6-9-1 as the host this year compared to a 2-7-4 mark on the road.

Phoenix is 2-0 against the Ducks this year and has won four straight and five of the last six meetings between the division rivals. The Coyotes have taken the last three encounters in Orange County.