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Ducks turn on defense to end skid against Coyotes

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM -- After giving up a combined 10 goals in consecutive defeats, defense came to the rescue for the Ducks.

Goalie Jonas Hiller's first shutout of the season sparked the Ducks in a 2-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes before an announced crowd of 13,456 at the Honda Center on Wednesday.

"We came out and played the game we wanted to," said Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, who assisted on a first period goal by right wing Corey Perry and scored an empty netter with 20.3 seconds remaining in the contest. "That was a lot better defensive effort. We shut them down. (Hiller) played great."

Hiller, who earned his 16th career shutout, turned back all 18 shots attempted by the Coyotes and allowed the Ducks to end a two-game skid. Though Phoenix goalie Jason LaBarbera finished with 22 saves, the goal by Perry was costly.

After clashing three times over the past five days, with Phoenix (11-9-3) earning back-to-back 5-4 shootout victories, this outing contrasted in comparison.

"Well I thought, for the most part, we didn't give them too much in the first periods," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I think they had three chances to score. They started again in the third but I thought the last five minutes we shut them down pretty good, which is what we want to do.

"We were mad we gave up (five) goals the last two games and we know solid defense is going to win you more than just games. It's going to win division titles and championships."

Still, with the exception of Perry's goal, the Ducks couldn't generate much, either. But with Hiller giving his best effort of the season, it didn't matter for the Pacific Division leaders.

"We didn't compete hard enough," said Coyotes coach Dave Tippett. "They were a more determined team defensively and we didn't have enough guys compete hard enough to get inside and create chances instead of just around the fringes. We didn't work to get shots through and when we did get shots, there were too many blocked and too many missed nets."

The win allowed the Ducks (16-3-3) to extend their home streak to nine games. They haven't lost in Anaheim since Vancouver recorded a 5-0 decision in the Ducks' home opener Jan. 26.

Phoenix, though, was the first club this season to hand the Ducks consecutive losses. That probably contributed to their aggressive stance early on, as they fired eight shots -- six straight before Phoenix attempted one -- on goal to only three for the Coyotes. "We knew it was going to be a close game," Phoenix's Shane Doan said. "Both teams wanted to be better defensively. There weren't as many chances. I don't know if it was defense or if neither team played as well offensively."

Perry broke the ice early on. On an assist from Bobby Ryan and Getzlaf, Perry gave Anaheim all it needed with a goal at 7:10 of the first period. It was his seventh goal of the season.

They had a chance to increase the lead late in the second period, when Phoenix defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was called for hooking on a breakaway by center Andrew Cogliano. But Cogliano, who had a hat trick in Saturday's loss at Phoenix, couldn't convert the penalty shot.

"They were playing well," Doan said of the Ducks. "The puck was bouncing quite a bit and we didn't make them turn enough. It comes down to us not executing."

NOTES: The Ducks have an all-time series lead of 57-31-16 against the Coyotes. They are 31-14-7 in Anaheim. ... Cogliano extended his consecutive games streak to 432, the third longest on the league's active streak. Cogliano hasn't missed a contest since Oct. 4, 2007, when he debuted with Edmonton. ... The Ducks signed center Charlie Sarault to a three-year, entry-level contract Tuesday. Sarault, 21, was the leading scorer in the Ontario Hockey League with 22 goals and 80 assists in 63 games with the Sarnia Sting. ... Anaheim entered the game leading the league with 10 players with at least five or more goals.
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