GLENDALE, Ariz. — Anders Lindback will start in goal for the Coyotes on Monday in Anaheim, but coach Dave Tippett said Mike Smith would likely start Tuesday’s game in Los Angeles against the Kings.
“We were going to split them anyway and Lindy played well the back half of that game (on Saturday against the Rangers) so that’s the way we’re going to go,” Tippett said.
Smith allowed three goals on 17 shots against the New York Rangers on Saturday and was pulled after a soft goal (the Rangers’ third goal of the game) early in the second period, marking the third time he has been pulled in 12 games this season.
Smith carries a 3.23 goals against average and a .900 save percentage into this two-game road trip. Lindback has a 1.67 goals against average and a .933 save percentage in four games with just one start (Oct. 24 in Ottawa).
“It’s always tougher just coming in but for the short times I’ve been playing I’ve been feeling pretty good,” Lindback said Sunday after the team’s practice at Gila River Arena. “It’s my job to try to stay focused all the time.”
Lindback said he has worked the last couple years on limiting unnecessary movements and making sure he is set on shots, but goalie coach Jon Elkin has refined that change in his game even more in the short time the two have worked together this season.
“Jon has really been helping with finding even some smaller details that I have found make my game even easier — all related to less movement for me and staying a little bit more patient and using my size even more,” Lindback said. “I’ve been with some great goalie coaches over the years and they all have their different ways to teach and look at things. I’m impressed with the way he pays attention to small details.”
Coyotes at Ducks
When: 8 p.m., Monday
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.
TV: FOX Sports Arizona
Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM
Injury report: Ducks — F Rickard Rakell (upper body), F Nate Thompson (shoulder), F Jiri Sekac (ankle) and D Simon Despres (head) are out. Coyotes — D Nicklas Grossman (lower body) is on injured reserve. D Stefan Elliott (upper body) is questionable. C Antoine Vermette (lower body) is doubtful.
Scouting the Ducks: After a brutal 2-7-2 start, the Ducks have won four straight and are starting to round back into Stanley Cup contender shape. … Getzlaf returned to the lineup on Friday against Columbus and has four assists in his last two games. Getzlaf underwent an appendectomy (non-emergency) on Oct. 28. … F Corey Perry has two goals and five points in his last three games after notching just three assists through the first 11. … The Coyotes shut out the Ducks, 4-0, in their first meeting on Oct. 14 in Anaheim.
Center Martin Hanzal expressed mild concern that he would be able to pick up where he left off with linemates Tobias Rieder and Anthony Duclair upon his return from a lower-body injury. Those concerns have abated.
The line didn’t score on Saturday but it generated a whopping 16 shots on goal and numerous scoring chances.
“I thought that was Duclair’s best game in a long time,” Tippett said. “He did some things with the puck that were — he was good.”
Tippett has said repeatedly that Hanzal is the catalyst for the line, but Rieder has also played well this season. An offseason focus on shooting more has paid dividends. Rieder is tied for the team lead in goals with five.
“I think I have improved everything. The release, the accuracy,” he said. ” Obviously, you need some luck, but confidence is a big part of it, too. If you go in on goaltender and you have it in your head that you’re going to score, it somehow makes it way easier than having the puck in front of the net and being in doubt.”
The trio has combined for 10 goals and 16 assists this season, although Duclair has no points in his last seven games.
We need them to keep their pace and their ability to play quick and we need some other lines to jump in on that same vein,” Tippett said.
Defenseman Nicklas Grossmann (lower body) was moved to the injured reserve on Sunday.
Tippett termed defenseman Stefan Elliott (upper body) questionable for Monday’s game in Anaheim. Tippett said that Elliott was close to returning, with Sunday’s practice serving as a big test.
Vermette got through a full practice on Sunday but appears to need a little more time to recover. He has missed five of the last six games with an injury the tea continues to label day-to-day.
The Coyotes re-assigned center Tyler Gaudet to Springfield on Sunday and recalled center Dustin Jeffrey and defenseman Philip Samuelsson.
Tippett liked the way Gaudet played but with Vermette out, the Coyotes are looking for a little more offense, suggesting that Jeffrey could play between Mikkel Boedker and Max Domi.
The Coyotes signed the 6-foot-2, 196-pound Jeffrey, 27, to a one-year, two-way contract in July. He leads Springfield with five goals and 12 points in 10 games.
— Two German reporters from near Rieder’s hometown of Landshut attended Thursday’s game against Colorado to do lifestyles story on Rieder. They also brought him German cookies.