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ANAHEIM - The Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks entered Sunday night’s game with identical 19-15-5 records and 43 points each. Granted it’s early January, but there indeed was a hint of playoff atmosphere inside the Honda Center when the puck dropped.
The Coyotes, however, did not compete with playoff intensity and lost 2-0.
“They are a team that is a past champion, they want to become a champion again and they played this game like it was a playoff game,” Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky said. “We played with not the same intensity that they did. They outskated us, they outhit us …Their team was definitely way better than our team was tonight, and the score was flattering.”
Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, playing his first game since missing two starts because of a sore back, made 32 saves to keep Phoenix (19-16-5) close, but his counterpart, Jonas Hiller, stopped all 29 shots he faced to notch his third NHL shutout.
Anaheim (20-15-5) scored both of its goals while a Coyotes player sat in the penalty box because Phoenix had too many players on the ice. Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer set up both goals with crisp passes.
Defenseman Chris Pronger gave Anaheim a 1-0 lead at 3:32 of the second period with a one-timer from the right circle 57 seconds into a power play.
The Coyotes had a golden opportunity to tie the score later in the second period after Ducks defenseman Brendan Mikkelson was given two minor penalties for hi-sticking Phoenix forward Daniel Carcillo in the face. The Coyotes kept the puck in Anaheim’s zone for most of the two power plays, which essentially became a five-on-three advantage after the stick of one of Anaheim's penlty killers broke, but Hiller made some key saves.
Ducks rookie Bobby Ryan put Anaheim ahead 2-0 with a one-timer from the left circle at 2:59 of the third period.
In addition to the four-minute power play in the second period, the Coyotes had a five-on-three advantage for 36 seconds in the first period. Peter Mueller and Olli Jokinen each had decent scoring chances from in close during the two-man advantage. Hiller gloved their shots.
“Specialty teams are a huge part of the game and they won it,” Coyotes captain Shane Doan said.
Coyotes defenseman Kurt Sauer echoed his coach and his captain.
|Coyotes forward Daniel Carcillo and Ducks defenseman Steve Montador collide during Sunday's game. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images).|
“They outworked us on the boards and they won the little battles,” Sauer said. “They did the little things, and we just weren’t good enough.”
With the victory, the Ducks took over sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division standings behind San Jose.
• Carcillo, who was a healthy scratch the past two games, did not return to the game after taking a hi-stick to the face in the second period. Despite playing just nine shifts, Carcillo had four shots on goal and three hits.
• Coyotes forward Todd Fedoruk delivered the game’s best hit when he plowed Ducks defenseman Bret Hedican into the boards behind the Ducks goal five minutes into the second period.
• Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf nearly gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead, but his shot from the left circle with 13:21 left in the second period hit the crossbar.
• Jokinen won seven of 10 face-offs.
• Rookie forward Kyle Turris and defenseman Keith Yandle were Phoenix’s healthy scratches.
• The Ducks played without right wing Corey Perry on Sunday. Perry was suspended for four games by the NHL on Saturday for elbowing Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux on Friday night. Meanwhile, right wing Teemu Selanne and defenseman Francois Beauchemin did not play because of injuries.
• Ducks center Todd Marchant was honored before the game for reaching the 1,000-game milestone on Dec. 22.
• With the loss, the Coyotes fell to 6-11-3 on the road.
• The Ducks ended a three-game home losing streak.
• The loss was Phoenix’s first in regulation in Anaheim in six games.