Ducks End Long Road Trip In Phoenix Against Coyotes

(Sports Network) - The Anaheim Ducks will close out their longest road trip of the season tonight as they visit the Pacific Division-rival Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena. The Ducks are just 2-4-0 on their swing and are coming off Sunday's 4-1 setback in Los Angeles. It marked Anaheim's return to California after playing five straight on the East Coast.

All five goals on Sunday came in the second period, with Matt Beleskey's re- direction goal briefly evening the game at 1-1. Beleskey had just been recalled from Syracuse of the American Hockey League earlier in the day. Jonas Hiller allowed all four LA goals on 23 shots and was pulled for Curtis McElhinney, who made seven saves in 22 scoreless minutes. Anaheim has been held to two goals or less in five of its six games on this road trip.

"We made too many critical mistakes with the puck," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We didn't execute anywhere near our abilities and it seemed like we couldn't get anything going." Just 7-11-3 on the road this year, Anaheim will play its next six games at home following tonight's battle.

The Coyotes didn't feature a lot of offense in their last trip to the ice, but one goal was enough in a 1-0 victory in Dallas on Sunday thanks to 30 saves by Jason LaBarbera. Making his fifth straight start in place of the injured Ilya Bryzgalov (upper-body), LaBarbera notched his fifth career shutout and first since Dec. 6, 2008 while with the Kings.

The backup netminder had allowed 15 goals over his previous four starts and also stopped Dallas' Loui Eriksson on a second-period penalty shot. Kyle Turris had the lone goal, his fifth of the year and first since Nov. 10 to end a 13-game goal drought. Martin Hanzal had a goal waived off in the game after the refs ruled his stick was above the crossbar.

"Those young players are making good plays like that," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said of Turris. "Their confidence will continue to grow." Phoenix wrapped a six-game road trip 2-3-1, while defenseman Ed Jovanovski picked up a victory in his 1,000th NHL game. He is the 256th player in league history to reach that milestone.

Radim Vrbata traveled with the club but did not play due to a lower-body injury suffered last Thursday versus San Jose. Bryzgalov practiced in full on Monday and will dress for tonight's game, but it is unknown if he will start. Bryzgalov is 10-7-2 with a 2.66 goals-against average versus the Ducks, while LaBarbera is 3-3-1 with a 2.49 GAA when facing them. The Coyotes had lost their first two games against the Ducks this year before a 3-0 victory in Anaheim on Dec. 5. Bryzgalov made 26 saves for the shutout.

However, Anaheim's Bobby Ryan notched a hat trick and Ryan Getzlaf had four assists in a 6-4 victory at Phoenix on Nov. 27 to help the Ducks halt a four- game series road losing streak. Ryan has six points in the three meetings this year, adding a three-assist game into the mix on Oct. 17, Getzlaf has six helpers in the three games and Hiller is 10-3-2 with a 2.46 GAA in his career versus the Coyotes. Phoenix captain Shane Doan has five goals and nine assists in his last 11 games against the Ducks.

For more Ducks news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Anaheim Calling.

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