The Arizona Coyotes have maintained a course very similar to the one they established with their hot start last month.
They’ll try to gain more altitude when they host the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.
The Coyotes are 7-4-2 in November after going 7-4-1 in October, keeping them on the heels of the Edmonton Oilers for the top spot in the Pacific Division.
Arizona had a chance to gain ground on the Oilers on Sunday but lost 4-3 in a shootout after failing to protect a one-goal lead entering the third period.
“There’s been too many times where we’ve lost that third period, or that lead, going into a period,” Arizona forward Christian Fischer told reporters after the game. “It’s something we’ve got to change because those are crucial points.”
The Ducks will likely enter the game against the Coyotes feeling a bit better about themselves after shutting out the visiting New York Islanders 3-0 on Monday night to end their team-record 17-game point streak.
The win also ended a three-game winless streak for the Ducks, who came in 1-5-3 in their previous nine games.
“We believe that we can compete with anybody if we play consistently for 60 minutes,” Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said.
Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf had sharp words for the Ducks after they lost 6-2 at the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday to finish a four-game road trip.
He responded with a goal and an assist against the Islanders, stretching his point streak to five games (two goals, five assists) and giving him a league-leading six game-winning goals.
“We talked a little bit as a group and some things were said, and necessary, to kind of respond as a group,” Getzlaf said. “I thought we did a good job of that (Monday) night.”
The Ducks also switched up their defensive pairs and will likely go with the same lineup against the Coyotes.
Fowler was paired with Erik Gudbranson for the first time this season and both finished plus-3 to match their NHL career highs. They also assisted on a late goal by Ondrej Kase, who has two goals in the past two games.
The Coyotes have alternated Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta as the starting goalie the past nine games and will continue to follow that pattern against the Ducks, sending Raanta out for his eighth career start against Anaheim.
Raanta owns a 1.69 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in the previous seven games against the Ducks.
Raanta hasn’t been nearly as stellar as Kuemper this season, however.
Raanta entered Tuesday ranked 16th in the NHL in GAA (2.62) and tied for eighth in save percentage (.926), though he hasn’t allowed an even-strength goal in nearly 128 minutes.
Kuemper leads the NHL with a 1.98 goals-against average and is second with a .934 save percentage.
The Coyotes could continue to be without left wing Lawson Crouse, who missed the Edmonton game and was absent from practice on Tuesday after sliding head-first into the end boards in a 3-2 win at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Crouse, the biggest skater on the team at 6-4, 220 pounds, would come in handy against a physical Anaheim team that’s tied for third in the NHL with seven fighting major penalties.
–Field Level Media