Arizona (21-12-2) at Anaheim (13-14-7)

  • Game info: 4:00 pm EST Sat Dec 19, 2009
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Shane Doan(notes) has seen a lot of losses in 14 seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes franchise. Now, the longtime captain is part of a club that’s emerged as one of the bigger surprises in the NHL.

Doan will try to lead the Coyotes to their ninth win in 12 games Saturday afternoon when they wrap up a four-game road trip with a matchup against the Anaheim Ducks.

Playing in his 1,000th game, the 33-year-old Doan scored in the shootout before Robert Lang(notes) notched the winner in a 2-1 victory over Columbus on Thursday. Picked seventh overall by Winnipeg in the 1995 draft, Doan became the 24th player in NHL history to reach the 1,000-game milestone with one team.

“It’s a huge blessing,” Doan said. “It’s hard to say what it really means. It will probably mean a lot more later on.”

Doan has figured prominently as Phoenix has split two games against its Pacific Division rivals in Anaheim.

His tally with 5:24 remaining Nov. 7 capped a three-goal flurry in the third period, but the Coyotes fell 4-3. Doan then beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere(notes) 1:18 into overtime of a 3-2 victory Nov. 29.

The Coyotes defeated the Ducks 3-2 on Oct. 31 in Glendale, Ariz., where Doan failed to record a point and missed on his shootout attempt.

Doan has scored 25 of his 265 goals against Anaheim. His 26 against Dallas are the most versus any foe.

With their ownership situation seemingly settled and solid play from former Anaheim goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov(notes) - 19-9-2 with a 2.02 goals-against average and four shutouts - the Coyotes no longer appear to be an easy win for the opposition.

Last season with Wayne Gretzky as coach, Phoenix (21-12-2) did not notch its 22nd win until the 45th game. With Dave Tippett now behind the bench, the Coyotes are a more polished team, but can still struggle at times.

“It was a masterpiece, wasn’t it? That was like a high-priced painting, that one,” Tippett said sarcastically after beating the Blue Jackets. “That wasn’t pretty, but they can’t all be pretty.”

Phoenix moved within three points of Pacific co-leaders San Jose and Los Angeles. The Coyotes franchise has never been a division winner and hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2002.

The Ducks (13-14-7), who won the Stanley Cup in 2007, are in last place in the Pacific.

After picking up points in six straight, the Ducks fell 4-1 to San Jose on Thursday. Ryan Getzlaf’s(notes) power-play goal 34 seconds into the third period drew Anaheim within 2-1, but Giguere allowed a pair of late goals and fell to 1-2-3 with a 2.91 GAA since blanking Chicago on Nov. 27.

“We had a little bit of complacency coming in,” said forward Bobby Ryan(notes), who assisted on Getzlaf’s eighth goal. “We didn’t get emotionally involved until the third period and it’s tough to win a game in 20 minutes.”

Getzlaf leads Anaheim with 38 points, one more than Corey Perry(notes), who has a team-high 16 goals and two versus Phoenix.

Jonas Hiller(notes) will probably get the start in goal for Anaheim. He is 7-0-2 with a 2.20 GAA in 10 starts against the Coyotes.

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Saturday, Dec 19