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Ducks rediscover power-play in 4-2 win over Coyotes

The SportsXchange

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Something had to give.

Anaheim's power-play had managed just three goals in 47 road opportunities entering Saturday's game against the Phoenix Coyotes.

But the Coyotes had allowed power-play goals in eight of their last 10 games and sported the league's third-worst home penalty-killing unit (75 percent).

Even without spiritual leader Teemu Selanne in the lineup, the Ducks got two power-play goals on their first three chances and a superb effort from goalie Jonas Hiller (42 saves) en route to a 4-2 win over the Coyotes in a battle of Pacific Division powers.

"We've had our struggles at home on the power-play and on the road," said Anaheim left wing Dustin Penner, who had two goals. "This is just a step in the right direction for our special teams."

The loss was the first in regulation for the Coyotes at home (9-1-2) this season, and their second straight loss overall after a 4-3 overtime loss to Colorado on Thursday. Both losses came despite outshooting their opponent.

It was also Anaheim's third win over the Coyotes this season, one of them in a shootout. The victory kept Anaheim atop the league's standings with 37 points.

"Players are making great sacrifices," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You can see it in the blocked shots and the effort they are giving. The perseverance comes with great character and we've got a lot of really good character guys on this team that don't like to lose, even games when you should."

The Ducks entered the game knowing that Selanne would sit out the second half of a back-to-back set after playing Friday against Tampa Bay. And Phoenix badly outplayed them in the first period, holding a 15-6 shot advantage. But Coyotes center Mike Ribeiro was whistled for hooking at the 10:24 mark and Penner cashed in for a 1-0 lead after one period.

Ribeiro evened the game briefly when he whacked the rebound of a Derek Morris shot out of midair and past Hiller. But the Ducks answered 36 seconds later when Penner scored his second of the game between goalie Mike Smith's pads on a 2-on-1 rush for a 2-1 lead.

Ducks forward Corey Perry danced through the defense to make it 3-1 less than three minutes later. Anaheim got its second power-play goal of the game when three Coyotes got caught along the boards, allowing Sami Vatanen to slip down the slot and receive Mathieu Perreault's pass for a one-timer and 4-1 lead after two periods.

It was the 13th power-play goal the Coyotes have allowed in their past 11 games.

"First goal was a power-play, second goal was a turnover, third goal was a turnover, fourth goal was a power-play," said Coyotes coach Dave Tippett, who has been preaching the need for improvement in those two areas. "Maybe I shouldn't talk about that so much. Maybe we'd get it."

Coyotes captain Shane Doan pulled Phoenix within 4-2 early in third period with a power-play goal off a deflection of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson's shot from the point. But the Coyotes, who had rallied nine times this season for victories when trailing, could get no closer.

"We had chances and we didn't bury them," Doan said. "You let that team hang around they're going to find ways to score goals and they did. Give them credit. They've got some guys that can make plays and when they got opportunities they did."

NOTES: The Ducks announced that D Luca Sbisa will miss 6-8 weeks with a torn tendon in his right hand and G Viktor Fasth will miss 3-4 weeks with lower-body muscle inflammation. Sbisa is due to have surgery on Monday. ... Anaheim recalled D Nolan Yonkman from Norfolk of the AHL. ... The Coyotes placed D Zbynek Michalek on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. ... Coyotes LW Lauri Korpikoski missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. ... Anaheim's Teemu Selanne sat out the second of back-to-back games after seeing just 10:34 of ice time against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday. ... Anaheim entered the game with the league's worst road power-play (6.4 percent) but cashed in on two its first three opportunities. ... Phoenix has allowed a power-play goal in nine of its last 11 games. ... Coyotes C Martin Hanzal left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury.
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