(Sports Network) - Both the Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks will be looking to shake up the Western Conference playoff picture this evening when the two clubs collide at the Honda Center. The Coyotes come into this contest with 81 points, tied with three other clubs for the final four playoff spots in the Western Conference and a point back of the fourth-place Stars. The Ducks are right on the outside of the mix, two points back with 79.
The two teams have also been going in opposite directions. While the Ducks have won five of their last six games, the Coyotes' 3-0 win over the Flames on Thursday was just their second in eight games (2-4-2) following an eight-game win streak.
Ilya Bryzgalov, a former Duck, made 39 saves versus Calgary for his sixth shutout of the season and 22nd of his career. Twenty of those have come with Phoenix, one shy of Nikolai Khabibulin's club record. "He was excellent," Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said of Bryzgalov. "We probably gave up more chances than we like, but he was solid in all aspects."
Eric Belanger, Brett MacLean and Shane Doan all tallied for Phoenix, which begins a four-game road trip hoping to snap a four-game slide as the guest club. Doan has five goals and 12 points in his past 13 games. Phoenix was without Ray Whitney, Rostislav Klesla and Martin Hanzal due to injury. Whitney, who has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury, is a game-time decision for tonight, while Klesla and Hanzal are out.
Whitney's return would be welcomed as he has a pair of goals and four assists versus the Ducks this year, while Doan has two tallies and five assists for a club-best seven points in the season series. The Ducks continued to roll on Friday, getting a goal and two assists from Ryan Getzlaf in a 6-2 triumph over the Avalanche. Corey Perry and Saku Koivu both finished with a goal and an assist, while Bobby Ryan, Bran Winchester and Dan Sexton added scores.
"Two points for us is huge," Getzlaf said. "Every night we know what we have at stake." Perry and Ryan both have five points over the Ducks' last two games and have combined for seven goals and eight assists versus the Coyotes this season. Dan Ellis made 24 saves and is 5-1-1 with a 2.22 goals-against average in seven games since joining the Ducks. He is 3-2-0 with a 2.20 GAA in his career versus the Coyotes.
Tonight marks the final regular-season matchup between these two Pacific Division clubs and the Ducks have won three of five this year. Anaheim has also won five of the last seven played at the Honda Center. Bryzgalov is 11-8-2 with a 2.65 GAA in 21 starts versus his former club.