Coyotes (2-0) at Ducks (0-1-1)
When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.
TV: FOX Sports Arizona
Radio: ESPN 620 AM
Scouting the Ducks: After falling one game short of the Stanley Cup Finals, Anaheim added forwards Carl Hagelin, Shawn Horcoff, Mike Santorelli, Chris Stewart and defenseman Kevin Bieksa in the offseason. Anaheim has just one goal in its first two games, but with centers Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler and forward Corey Perry, the Ducks have size, speed and skill to burn.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The rest of the National Hockey League may view the opening month of the season as Hocktoberfest. For the Coyotes, it feels more like Octobertest.
After opening the season with a “unique” road-home, back-to-back set that coach Dave Tippett said he has never experienced in his lengthy NHL playing and coaching career, the Coyotes do an encore this week with a road game Wednesday at Anaheim, followed by a home game Thursday against the Minnesota Wild.
“The thing I didn’t understand is that the first game of both of our back-to-backs is a 7:30 (p.m.) start instead of an earlier start, which is weird,” defenseman Michael Stone said. “You’d think it would be the opposite for just a little more rest, but it is what it is.”
The Coyotes won both ends of their first back-to-back set which softened Tippett’s stance on the bizarre scheduling, but things won’t get any easier for Arizona this month.
For the second time this season when the Coyotes arrive home after playing a road game, they’ll face a team that has been resting and waiting for them in the Valley. Minnesota hasn’t played since Saturday and was scheduled to fly to Phoenix right after its practice on Wednesday.
The Coyotes could have some interested spectators that night, too. The Boston Bruins play Wednesday in Colorado and don’t play again until Saturday at Gila River Arena.
After facing Boston, Arizona hits the road for a five-game trip against the New Jersey Devils, the New York Rangers, the Ottawa Senators, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Bruins at TD Garden.
By the time the Coyotes conclude the month on Oct. 30 against the Vancouver Canucks at Gila River Arena, they will have played seven of eleven games on the road, three back-to-back sets and six playoff teams.
“It’s a tough start but if you get through it and play well then it’s beneficial for you because you have some home games coming,” Stone said.
Tippett believes the long, East Coast road trip could also be beneficial for the Coyotes.
“When you have this many new faces it’s good to get out on the road and get in your routine,” Tippett said. “That’s players’ routine together, coaches’ routine together, practice routines.
“An extended trip out playing some tough games I think will be good for our group. It’s a great challenge. It’s going to give us a real good test.”
- The 5: Five best players taken at No. 5 in NHL Draft
- Coyotes’ 2018-19 schedule a little more travel friendly
- 2018 NHL Draft prediction tracker: Players to watch at No. 5 for Coyotes
- Coyotes GM John Chayka: Report about Phil Kessel is ‘inaccurate’
- Coyotes to open 2018-19 season at Stars, debut new jerseys vs. Ducks