The Phoenix Coyotes (22-20-8) return to the ice Tuesday to take on the Anaheim Ducks (18-23-7) after having a week off for the NHL All-Star break.
While the Coyotes have managed to stay alive in a packed Western Conference playoff race, the Ducks have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NHL this season. The Ducks are on pace for their worst season since 03-04 when they finished 29-35-10 and missed the playoffs; however, the Ducks have finally started to roll under coach Bruce Boudreau and have gone 8-1-1 in their last 10.
Tuesdays game will be the fifth of six meetings between the teams this season. The series is even after four games, with the Ducks getting the most recent win in a 6-2 blowout Jan.18.
The Coyotes went into the break riding a 3-2 win against the Ottawa Senators on Jan. 24, but the victory was only the ninth for the team since the beginning of December. The one-goal victory was the first for the Coyotes after losing in their previous five one-goal contest.
"In my history with this team, one-goal games were our forte," defenseman Adrian Aucoin told NHL.com. "We've taken a lot of pride in it. It got us to the playoffs twice. This year, it's been tough on us and when you're down by a goal it's hard hockey. It's nice to pull one off like that and we're going to need more."
Chris Summers will be in the lineup for the Coyotes Tuesday after being recalled by the Coyotes Monday. The recall comes just five days after Summers had been assigned to the Coyotes AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates. The 6-foot-2, 209-pound Summers has played in nine games with the Coyotes this season, collecting three assists. Summers was drafted by the Coyotes 29th overall in the 2006 Entry Draft.
With only 32 games left in the season, coach Dave Tippett knows his team needs to perform if they want to stay in the thick of the playoff race. "I think for us to put a push on after the break, we're going to have to come back and be a lot better team," Tippett told the Arizona Republic. "We're going to have to have individuals play better. We're going to have to play better as a group to give ourselves the best chance of being a playoff team."
The puck drops at 7 p.m. at Jobing.com Arena and the game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona.
Best Coyote quote of All-Star break
Keith Yandle was the Coyotes lone All-Star in Ottawa this weekend and competed in the fastest skater competition. Yandle took a small tumble in the final corner of the race and seemed to throw a hook towards Phil Kessel in an attempt to catch up.
When asked about justifications for his actions Yandle admitted to holding a grudge against Kessel saying, "Turning to my right isn't my specialty, so I stumbled out of there. I asked him if he'd 'Rock, Paper, Scissor' me for which side we'd go. But he was too scared, because he knows how good my 'Rock, Paper, Scissor' game is."