Ducks fall behind, then roar past Coyotes
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau has been imploring his team to focus on better starts the past two weeks. With results like Saturday‘s, the message is falling on deaf ears.
For the fourth time in the past five games, the Ducks allowed their opponent to score the first goal. But just as they did the three previous times, Anaheim rallied, scoring three second-period goals to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 5-3 at Jobing.com Arena for their sixth straight win.
“It was unbelievable,” said Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm, whose team swept the season series 5-0. “I didn’t think we played our best game, but we were able to bear down and get a good win. We know if we do the right things out there we’re going to get a couple of goals.”
Phoenix left winger Lauri Korpikoski collected his own rebound and rifled a shot past Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller’s glove hand to stake the Coyotes to a 1-0 lead just 3:57 into the first period.
But Lindholm banged home a rebound of Nick Bonino’s shot off a Coyotes defensive zone breakdown to tie the score at 1 at 12:27.
The Ducks then blitzed the Coyotes for three goals in a 5:11 span of the second period to take a commanding 4-1 lead.
Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatanen sent a seemingly harmless point shot toward Phoenix goalie Thomas Greiss, who saw it all the way. But the puck somehow slid between Greiss’s legs for a 2-1 lead at 5:44 that seemed to suck the life out of the Coyotes.
“Tough goal,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “That’s where you’d like to think that you can overcome those things. A cohesive group would overcome that thing, a non-cohesive group doesn‘t.”
Ducks left winger Dustin Penner ripped a one-timer past Greiss off a perfect feed from right winger Corey Perry at 9:11 of the second period and captain Ryan Getzlaf finished the second-period scoring with his 23rd goal of the season to chase Greiss in favor of normal starter Mike Smith.
Lindhold added his second goal early in the third period and Coyotes centers Martin Hanzal and Mike Ribeiro added meaningless goals for the final score.
Coyotes right winger Radim Vrbata had three assists -- the third time he has accomplished that career-high feat this season.
The loss was the fourth in the last five games for Phoenix, which is just 3-7-2 in its past 12 home games after a 9-0-1 start. The Coyotes are 7-10-6 and have fallen out of a playoff position in the Western Conference.
“Right now, we’re not very good and we haven’t been very good for a while,” captain Shane Doan said. “We’ve been fooling ourselves with finding ways to come back and get points.”
Anaheim improved to 16-1-1 since the start of December and leads the NHL with 73 points in 47 games. That’s on pace for 127 points. The Montreal Canadiens set the NHL record at 132.
Hiller (28 saves) won his 13th consecutive game, the longest streak since Detroit’s Chris Osgood won 13 straight in 1996 and the eighth time that has happened in NHL history.
“It’s a great thing, but I‘m more excited about winning,” Hiller said. “The personal things are the cherry on the cake.”
NOTES: Ducks C Ryan Getzlaf left the game late in the second period with a foot injury and did not return. X-rays were negative. ... Ducks LW Dustin Penner returned to the lineup after missing the past two games with an upper-body injury. ... Ducks RW Teemu Selanne was a healthy scratch. ... Penner’s second period goal was his first goal since Dec. 15 against Edmonton. ... With Coyotes G Mike Smith having won just three of his past 17 starts, G Thomas Greiss made his fourth start in the team’s past seven games and his second straight. ... When Coyotes LW Lauri Korpikoski gave Phoenix a 1-0 lead, it marked the fourth time in the past five games the Ducks allowed an opponent the first goal. Anaheim won the previous three and entered play with an NHL-best 14-5-1 record when allowing the first goal. No other team has a .500-or-better record. ... Anaheim scored four or more goals in a team-record six straight games.