Coyotes goalie Mike Smith and defenseman Rostislav Klela take down Ducks… (Rick Scuteri / Associated…)
PHOENIX — In nearly four decades around professional hockey, Bruce Boudreau has seen a lot of strange things. But the coach can't remember seeing a team play consecutive games on the road in the same city during the regular season, something his division-leading Ducks will do Monday night when they meet the Phoenix Coyotes for the second time in three nights in Arizona.
"I can't recall. In recent years anyway," Boudreau said. "But I'm getting old, so maybe my memory's getting old too."
Forward Bobby Ryan's memory is a lot fresher. And he can't remember seeing it either.
"Nothing like this," he said. "It has a playoff feel to it."
You can thank the peculiarities of the lockout-shortened schedule for the history. That's the same schedule that has both teams flying to Anaheim after Monday's game to meet again Wednesday at Honda Center, marking the first time — outside of the postseason — the Ducks will play three consecutive games against the same opponent.
That kind of familiarity can certainly breed contempt, something that became apparent in a chippy third period Saturday when the Ducks gave up two sloppy goals before losing in a shootout.
"You're going to see that more so in the next two games," Ryan said of the physical play. "They're a pretty proud team, so they stand up for themselves. They push back everywhere on the ice."
"There was a lot of compete," he said Saturday. "There was a lot of trash talk out there as well."
There were also a lot of exhausted hockey players — especially on Boudreau's bench since the Ducks were playing for the fifth time in seven days and second time in 22 hours. Both teams took Sunday off, which should help Ducks winger Kyle Palmieri heal.
Palmieri left Saturday's game in the first period because of an upper-body injury, forcing Boudreau to stretch his lines even thinner in the final period and overtime.
"It's day to day," Boudreau said of the injury. "I think he should be fine."
When: 6 PST.
Where: Jobing.com Arena, Glendale, Ariz.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket.
Record vs. Coyotes: 0-0-1.
Etc: Sunday's day off in Phoenix was just the third in eight days for the Ducks, who have played back-to-back games six times in as many weeks this season.