The Anaheim Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes played two eerily similar games against each other this week before the action shifts to California.
The Coyotes posted two shootout wins over the Ducks, who try to bounce back and extend their eight-game home win streak when these teams meet again Wednesday night.
This contest caps three straight between the Pacific Division rivals, who had not met this season until Phoenix (11-8-3) earned consecutive 5-4 victories at home Saturday and Monday.
"We'll take the points," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "They're tight games. They don't need many chances to score or look very dangerous. They've proven to be one of the top teams in the league."
Amazingly, the eight goals in regulation in each contest were scored in the exact same sequence. The Ducks blew leads of 1-0, 3-2 and 4-3.
Anaheim (15-3-3) wasted third-period advantages both times. The Ducks' Andrew Cogliano got his second career hat trick Saturday before the Coyotes' Steve Sullivan scored the tying goal with 6:29 left in regulation.
The Ducks led twice in the final period two nights later. They have lost consecutive games for the first time.
"It better not be catching up to us because we have more than half the season to go," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We're putting out guys who should be able to play and should be able to defend. It's not acceptable."
The Ducks are now out for revenge as they look to continue their longest run at home since a club-record 11-game stretch in 2009-10.
"We've got a little work to do," center Ryan Getzlaf told the Ducks' official website. "They're a good team, and we didn't allow ourselves to get going at any time. Every time we did something in a positive way, we took a step back. We've got to go back home and take care of our building now."
Mike Smith started both games for Phoenix and made 58 saves before coming through in both shootouts. He has allowed 18 goals in going 1-2-1 in four career starts at the Honda Center.
Boudreau will choose between Jonas Hiller, Monday's starter, and Viktor Fasth, who lost Saturday. Fasth has posted a 1.23 goals-against average in winning all four home starts while Hiller has a 2.70 GAA in winning his last four in Anaheim.
Phoenix had seven different goal scorers in the last two games, with Oliver Ekman-Larsson registering a team-high three assists.
Anaheim's goals were supplied by six different skaters. Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry totaled one point Saturday before combining for six in the rematch.
The Ducks are 2 for 5 on the power play against Phoenix, remaining among the league's best at 29.7 percent. The Coyotes have limited opponents to two power-play goals in 21 chances over their last seven road games.
"Obviously they've built up a fairly huge lead on everybody else and they're a little more comfortable I'm sure, but we have to be a little desperate," Phoenix captain Shane Doan said.
After Wednesday, these teams do not meet again until their April 27 finale in Anaheim.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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