By Dave Vest
The Coyotes set a festive mood for their two-day holiday break from hockey with a convincing 4-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night at Jobing.com Arena.
Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
made 21 saves to earn his NHL-leading fifth shutout of the season and the 13th of his career.
, Martin Hanzal
, Taylor Pyatt
and Robert Lang scored goals for Phoenix (23-13-2), which extended its home winning streak to eight games.
The Coyotes led 2-0 before the game was 17 minutes old, and the Ducks (15-15-7), who also played Tuesday night at Colorado, were cooked.
"We needed to set the tempo of the game," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "I thought we did some real good things early to push the game along."
Upshall gave Phoenix the lead for good when he scored his team-high 13th goal at 8:20 of the first period (see KEY MOMENT below). Hanzal's goal, scored on a slap shot he launched from just inside the blue line, put the Coyotes ahead 2-0 at 16:29.
Pyatt muscled his way to the Anaheim net from the left corner and pushed the puck by Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller at 10:09 of the second period.
Peter Mueller fed Lang a nice cross-slot pass to set up Phoenix's fourth goal with 3:50 left in the game. Jean Sebastien-Giguere, who had replaced Hiller, had little chance to stop Lang's power-play shot from in close and to his right.
The loss was the first in regulation for Hiller in 11 games vs. Phoenix.
"We just weren’t good enough today," Hiller said. "They were better. Their goaltending was better, their PK was better, their PP was better, and they won the one-on-one battles."
's goal capped a sequence of non-stop hustle on his part. Within a few seconds, Upshall: 1. Seemingly untangled himself from the Anaheim net; 2. Skated into the left corner and delivered a crushing check on Anaheim's Brett Festerling; 3. Shadowed linemate Matthew Lombardi as Lombardi skated into the slot; and 4. Backhanded the rebound of Lombardi's shot past Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller.
| Dave Tippett
• The Coyotes have earned 48 points at the Christmas break. Asked if he was satisfied with that number given how late in training camp he joined the team, Head Coach Dave Tippett said: "About a week ago I was hoping we'd get to 11 (games) over .500 at Christmas and we're at 10. We're on it, but there's a lot of work to be done here yet. I like the way this group has come along and I give the players a ton of credit. They've really jumped in and became a very close and good team. But there's no awards for half the season. The second half gets tougher and gets more meaningful."
• The Coyotes last won eight home games in a row in 2001-02 when they called the former America West Arena their home rink.
• Enforcer Paul Bissonnette
showed terrific restraint late in the second period by not fighting Anaheim enforcer George Parros when Parros started cruising for a bout to try to spark his teammates. Parros deivered a brutal check to Bissonnette's upper body, but Bissonnette shrugged it off.
• Taylor Pyatt
's goal was the 200th point of his NHL career.
• Talk about "scoring by committee" - 11 Coyotes notched a point on Wednesday. Forward Peter Mueller had two assists for his first multi-point game of the season.
• The Coyotes scratched Kevin Porter, Sami Lepisto
and Vernon Fiddler
(lower-body injury). Anaheim scratched Evgeny Artyukhin and Steve Eminger.