ANAHEIM -– The Ducks look to end 2017 on a winning note when they host the Arizona Coyotes at Honda Center in a Sunday afternoon New Year’s Eve matinee.
A win over the lowly Coyotes would give the Ducks (17-14-8) four in their last five as they try to build some momentum during a stretch of seven straight games against Pacific Division teams.
With the early start, the Ducks did not have a morning skate so it is unclear who Randy Carlyle will go with in goal. Carlyle is steadfast in maintaining his policy of not announcing his starting netminder.
It figures that Ryan Miller needs to get a game in before their five-day mandated schedule break next week but Carlyle could save the veteran for Tuesday’s game in Vancouver, where Miller started for the Canucks the last three seasons.
John Gibson (12-12-4, 2.72 GAA, .922 SV%) stopped 22 shots Friday in a 2-1 win over Calgary. Leading scorer Rickard Rakell (12 goals, 27 points) has a four-game goal scoring streak and has added two assists over that span.
Defenseman Andy Welinski was sent down to San Diego (AHL) on Saturday.
Here is the projected lineup for the Ducks:
Rickard Rakell-Ryan Getzlaf-Ondrej Kase
Nick Ritchie-Adam Henrique-Jakob Silfverberg
Andrew Cogliano-Ryan Kesler-Logan Shaw
Chris Wagner-Antoine Vermette-Kevin Roy
Hampus Lindholm-Josh Manson
Cam Fowler-Kevin Bieksa
Francois Beauchemin-Brandon Montour
Antti Raanta (5-10-2, 2.80 GAA, .916 SV%) is expected to get the start for Arizona as it attempts to bounce back from a 7-4 home loss to Toronto on Thursday.
The Coyotes (9-26-5) went sideways ever since they let a 4-1 lead over the Ducks slip away in a 5-4 loss on opening night in Anaheim. Just once have they won consecutive games when they captured three straight in November at Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.
Not surprisingly, Arizona is at or near the bottom of most major categories. It is last in defense with a 3.50 goals-against average and 30th in the NHL in offense at 2.27 goals per game. The Coyotes…