The Anaheim Ducks will try to achieve franchise records for wins and points when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night.
The Ducks (43-18-12) established both marks last season when they went 43-27-12 for 98 points. Anaheim failed in its first chance to set the records Sunday, losing 5-3 to Los Angeles.
It was the team's first regulation defeat in 11 games.
"We're left scratching our head for tonight, I can't think of this group playing as poor a game this year," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "Obviously we didn't play to the level that was required, for whatever reason."
Anaheim is battling Nashville and Detroit for the top spot in the Western Conference, but allowed its most goals in regulation since a 6-2 loss to St. Louis on Jan. 16.
"It was a strange game and we weren't focused on what we are trying to do as a team," Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer said. "We never settled down to our game and they did."
Recent history suggests Anaheim should be able to get back on track and set the two club records Thursday. The Ducks have won six of the season's first seven games against Phoenix, the Western Conference's worst team, going into the final meeting. Anaheim has taken 16 of the last 19 matchups and earned points in 18 of those games.
Anaheim can also tie the franchise record for road victories Thursday night. The Ducks won 19 games away from home in their inaugural 1993-94 season, and will have plenty of chances to tie and break that mark if they can't beat the Coyotes. After hosting Dallas on Friday, Anaheim closes out the regular season with six of its last seven games on the road.
While Anaheim focuses on breaking records, the Coyotes (28-41-4) will be trying to avoid a third-straight last-place finish in the Pacific Division after falling into a tailspin near the end of the season.
Phoenix lost 3-2 to Minnesota on Tuesday night for its fourth straight defeat. The Coyotes have lost nine of their last 10 and 16 of 19 since Feb. 7, earning points in only five of those contests.
"Our young guys play hard and they keep battling and tonight again they battled back at 3-2 and made it close, and had some other chances to come back," coach Wayne Gretzky said. "I was happy with how hard our guys worked and the effort they gave."
The Coyotes have lost five of their past six at home and have given up 18 goals in their last three losses at Jobing.Com Arena.
Phoenix has been eliminated from the playoffs for the fourth straight year and fifth time this decade.
|AnaheimDucks.com is the official Web site of the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim Ducks and AnaheimDucks.com are trademarks of Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.|