The Phoenix Coyotes appear to be finally ending a lengthy process off the ice that should provide stability.
Avoiding a three-game losing streak is the priority on it, but a visit to the Anaheim Ducks may not be ideal.
The Coyotes will try to rebound from a difficult overtime defeat by capitalizing against the struggling Ducks on Sunday night.
Phoenix (1-1-1) seems to be closer to having a new owner after a lease agreement to play at Jobing.com Arena was reached Friday between Chicago investor Matthew Hulsizer and the city of Glendale.
The Coyotes have been controlled by the NHL for more than a year after then-owner Jerry Moyes took the team into bankruptcy followed by a lengthy court battle.
“The City and the Hulsizer group have an agreement in principle on a lease which would allow the Hulsizer group to buy the team from the National Hockey League … under the terms they requested,” the city said in a statement on its official website.
The transaction must be approved by the NHL Board of Governors.
Despite the off-ice turmoil, the Coyotes were perhaps the league’s biggest surprise last season, finishing with a franchise-record 107 points before falling to Detroit in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Coyotes failed to gain a measure of revenge in their home opener Saturday, falling 2-1 in overtime as Ilya Bryzgalov(notes) gave up the winning goal on the Red Wings’ eighth power play after killing off the others.
“I didn’t mind the way we played short-handed,” coach Dave Tippett said. “I minded how much we played short-handed. When you give eight power plays, especially two in overtime, you’re tempting fate too hard.”
The Coyotes aren’t sure if Ray Whitney(notes) will play after missing Saturday’s defeat with an upper-body injury. The left wing was signed as a free agent from Carolina in the offseason. He had 21 goals and 37 assists last season, and one assist in two games with Phoenix.
The Coyotes took four of six meetings with the Ducks (1-3-1) last season, but the two defeats came at Anaheim. They’ve only won five of their last 20 visits (5-13-2) to the Honda Center.
Penalties and struggles on the penalty kill are causing problems for the Ducks again. They squandered a two-goal lead midway through the third period Friday, giving up a pair of power-play scores before falling 5-4 in a shootout to Atlanta.
Anaheim failed to kill three of the Thrashers’ four power plays after the penalty-killing unit’s 79.3 percent success rate ranked 12th in the Western Conference last season.
“Anytime you lose in your own building it’s disappointing, especially when you’ve got the lead going into the third,” captain Ryan Getzlaf(notes) said. “We worked pretty hard all game long, but we made a few mental errors, gave up two goals and didn’t get a big penalty kill at the end.”
Penalties have been synonymous with the Ducks, who lead the NHL with 169 penalty minutes this season after finishing atop the West in each of the last four.
Getzlaf, one of five players remaining from the 2007 Stanley Cup-winning team, has two goals and four assists in the last two games.
The center has nine goals and 22 assists in 31 games against the Coyotes, getting five and 11, respectively, in 15 home meetings.