Ducks Gameday—Phoenix, the hand that feeds you

Anaheim Ducks (43-18-12, 3rd in west) at Phoenix Coyotes (28-41-4, 15th in west)

One aspect of the division-heavy schedule that has been in place this season and last is the notion of non-competitive rivalries, where a team regularly and handily takes points from one of its division mates. Tonight we have one of the prime examples with the Ducks and the Dogs. Since the schedule has been implemented, the Ducks have gone 13-1-1 against Phoenix, and those 27 points are the second-highest amount any team has taken from a division foe over that stretch (Nashville has 28 points in games against the Blues).

Here is a list of the top-15 one-sided division rivalries over the past 2 seasons (measured in terms of points-earned-per-game):

Team

Opponent Games Played Standings Points Points-Per-Game

Detroit

Chicago

14

27

1.93

Nashville

St. Louis

15

28

1.87

Anaheim

Phoenix

15

27

1.80

Buffalo

Boston

15

26

1.73

Nashville

Columbus

16

27

1.69

Florida

Washington

14

23

1.64

Carolina

Florida

14

23

1.64

Ottawa

Toronto

16

26

1.63

Detroit

Columbus

13

21

1.62

Detroit

St. Louis

15

24

1.60

Atlanta

Washington

15

24

1.60

Atlanta

Florida

15

23

1.53

Buffalo

Toronto

14

21

1.50

New Jersey

Philadelphia

14

21

1.50

Calgary

Edmonton

15

22

1.47


I don’t really know what to say about this list: on one hand, it seems unfair that dominant teams on this list get such a unique boost in their points total; on the other hand, every division is represented on this list so at least it’s somewhat spread out.

Now just for the record—I am a guy who for the most part is in favor of the new schedule. I like the fact that we don’t play the east very often; as opposition, eastern teams just aren’t as relevant to the Ducks’ fate, as they are accumulating points on their own separate standings board. And aside from Phoenix, all the other Pacific teams are great match-ups for Duck fans, and certainly involve less travel. (Plus I just don’t want to give up the free PHX points.)

Feel free to share your feelings on the schedule in the comments—what works for you and what doesn’t?

Prediction: 2 more points for the feathered ones. Ducks 4, Coyotes 2. In the seven games against Phoenix this year, the top line of Selanne-McDonald-Kunitz has combined for 12 goals and 19 assists, so naturally tonight’s goals will be scored by Pahlsson x2 and R. Niedermayer x2.

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