The last time the Ducks and Coyotes got together, Anaheim ended Phoenix’s seven game winning streak by scoring six goals on Ilya Bryzgalov. Eight days later for a rematch, and the Coyotes said “not this time!”
Bryzgalov was perfect against the Ducks, stopping all 26 shots on goal. Nothing was going to get past the quirky Russian netminder and his teammates helped make sure of it.
Anaheim took needless penalties and could not find the energy needed to get the job done. At least when they were shut out on Friday night against Detroit, they played a good, solid game. The same could not be said of Sunday’s follow up effort.
Getting Joffrey Lupul back in the line up did not add a boost either. Lupul, who had not played an NHL game since December 8, 2009, saw his first game since recovering from back surgery and subsequent blood infections (plural) that kept him off the ice. He saw 14:28 of ice time and had three shots on goal.
“It was enjoyable just being back around the guys,” Lupul said after the game. “I’m glad to have the first one out of the way. Hopefully now, I can just go about business as usual. I felt good before the game. I was pretty excited. Once the game got going, it was just hockey again. If I had any nerves, they were gone by the first or second shift. It was not the result we wanted. It’s frustrating. I can play better and everyone can play better.”
The Coyotes continued their solid play with goals from Taylor Pyatt, Shane Doan and an empty netter by Lee Stempniak with nearly three minutes left to play. Coach Randy Carlyle made a ballsy move by pulling Jonas Hiller extremely early in hopes that the Ducks could find a way to tie up the game.
The Ducks were not even capable of finding a single goal, much less two at that point.
“It seems like we don’t really have a starting point in any of the games, specifically the last two,” said Carlyle. “We started both of them, the first 10-12 minutes we were playing defensive zone coverage and not on the attack. It seems like it takes 10 minutes for us to get warmed up and that is not acceptable.”
Captain Ryan Getzlaf knew that winning a game would take more than just putting the puck in the net.
“It’s frustrating when you’re out there trying to work as hard as you can and things aren’t happening,” Getzlaf commented. “It’s not a matter of putting the puck in. It’s a matter of all those other little things that we’re not doing properly. We have to reach back here and start doing those again.”
The Ducks get to put the basics back into practice on the road, with their next two in Edmonton and Vancouver. If they can get back to basics and put a puck in the net, they just might turn things around. Until they learn those lessons, it’s back to the drawing board.
In other notes: Teemu Selanne missed his second game in a row nursing a groin strain. Dan Sexton was sent back to Syracuse after Lupul was activated off the long, long, long term IR.