A victory in their last game helped the Anaheim Ducks solve their offensive struggles. If they’re going to build on that, however, they can’t afford to look past the Phoenix Coyotes, who have won four of five meetings this season.
The Ducks hope to avoid their fourth straight loss to the Coyotes when the teams meet at Jobing.com Arena on Tuesday.
Anaheim (39-25-7) averted a third consecutive defeat with a 3-1 home victory - its franchise-tying seventh straight as a host - over Montreal on Sunday. Chris Kunitz, Todd Marchant and Samuel Pahlsson scored for the Ducks, ending their shutout streak at 130 minutes, 22 seconds following back-to-back 1-0 losses at Chicago and Colorado.
“We have played really good except for the last two games on the road,” Pahlsson told the Ducks’ official Web site. “We’ve been playing really good for a long time now. It’s not just home. We won on the road too. Sometimes we don’t play perfect games, but we find ways to win.”
The Ducks exceeded their goal total from the previous two contests despite playing their first game of the season without right wing Corey Perry, who is expected to miss six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a lacerated tendon above his right knee. Perry leads the Ducks with a career-high 29 goals in 70 games.
Anaheim improved to 12-3-0 since losing a season-high six straight from Jan. 20-Feb. 1. The Ducks, who are fifth in Western Conference, trail Pacific Division-leading Dallas by four points.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who endured a personal six-game skid during the Ducks’ slide, made 20 saves on Sunday, improving to 10-2-0 with a shutout and a 1.42 goals-against average in his last 12 starts.
Giguere is 1-0-2 with a 2.37 GAA in three appearances against the Coyotes (34-30-5) this season. He made 32 saves in a 3-2 shootout loss at Phoenix on Jan. 5 in the teams’ most recent meeting.
The Coyotes are 4-1-0 against the defending Stanley Cup champions in this season’s series, winning each of the last three meetings. They haven’t won four straight over the Ducks since Feb. 28-Nov. 8, 2003.
Anaheim, which has won five of seven on the road, faces a Phoenix team that is a league-worst 14-17-3 at home.
The Coyotes have dropped the first two contests of their five-game homestand by 4-2 decisions, most recently falling to Ottawa on Saturday. Craig Weller and Peter Mueller scored for Phoenix, which is five points behind the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with 13 games left.
“This is such a unique team in that we just can’t find a way to win at home, and yet on the road we play such a tremendously different game,” coach Wayne Gretzky said of his Coyotes, who have lost three straight and five of their last six games at Jobing.com Arena. “We can’t put our finger on it. We’ve tried everything.”
Ilya Bryzgalov has continued to provide solid goaltending for the Coyotes, going 5-4-0 with a 2.02 GAA and a shutout in his last nine games. Claimed off waivers from the Ducks on Nov. 17, Bryzgalov has beaten his former team twice this season, both wins coming in the shootout.
Mueller, who leads all rookies with 21 goals, has four goals and an assist in five games against Anaheim.