There was no doubt about it. It was Andrew Cogliano’s night. Hats off to him (literally) for helping the Ducks nearly single handedly to defeat the Phoenix Coyotes, 4-1.
Although the Ducks lost their last game prior to the All Star break, they continued their winning ways in Phoenix to start the second half of the season off right.
While playing so-so in the first period, Jonas Hiller played well enough to keep the Coyotes down to only one goal. Ray Whitney tipped in Radim Vrbata’s shot at 7:39 of the first. Anaheim only had one goal to make up when they came out in the second period.
The third line of Cogliano, Matt Beleskey and Nick Bonino came out smoking hot in the middle frame. Beleskey was inserted on that line in place of Jason Blake, who has a lingering foot issue, suffered on January 18 at the hands of his teammate, Lubomir Visnovsky. Although Blake played between the injury and the All Star break, it became evident that this was not healing. Blake underwent an MRI on Wednesday to get a better idea of what is up. At least Beleskey can add his “B” so the line remains the BBC line!
Cogliano got his first goal at 6:59. He burned Mike Smith for a second one at 10:07. Why stop there? The third one came at 13:50 and Cogliano had his first hat trick, a natural one, all in the same period. Some guy named Teemu Selanne has had a couple of those for the Ducks. But they don’t happen too often.
“I’ve never been through a stretch like that before,” said Cogliano. “Once in junior, I think I scored four goals in one game. My goal for the end of the season is playing a big role in helping the team. I want to shoot more and have an impact.”
Cogliano, who had his best season as a rookie with 18 goals, could very well end up with over 20 this year. For a guy on the third line, that is definitely an impact.
The third line was also very good prior to the All Star break, helping contribute to the Ducks streak of 9-1-1 in 11 games. When you have three lines who can score, it makes it a lot tougher to defend against and sure goes a long way to winning games.
Cogliano might have kept going with his goals but the Coyotes pulled Smith, who was exceptionally angry and took it out on the glass as he came to the bench. Jason LaBarbera fared somewhat better in net and held the fort the rest of the game.
It appeared that Whitney had narrowed the game to one goal again, but his goal in the third period was waived off due to what the referee deemed “incidental contact” with Hiller by Martin Hanzal. You would have to dig deep in the rulebook to figure out the interpretation, because on the surface, it did not look like contact at all, and the Coyotes had every right to be livid.
“When both teams are amazed the call is being made, you wonder about it,” said Coyotes coach Dave Tippett. “There is no contact with the goalie whatsoever. Hanzal’s on the edge of the crease … you could probably find five goals in the League like that that would be called goals. Unfortunately that one got called back.”
Hiller sided with referee Dan O’Halloran. “On the shot, (Hanzal) stretched his leg back which caught my pad so I couldn’t move my pad. I think that’s what the referee saw,” Hiller said. “They aren’t calling that every night … but we got a break there.”
Even if the goal had counted, the Ducks still held strong and added an empty net goal from Selanne at 18:54 of the third to seal the game. 4-1 Ducks. Game over.
The Ducks head home for a quick turnaround to play the Dallas Stars at the Honda Center on Wednesday night, where they hope to keep their winning ways going.