The Ducks were playing the second of back to back games in Phoenix, where they had a perfect home record. Despite being the rested team, the Ducks took full advantage of their opportunities and downed the Coyotes 4-2. So much for that perfect home record.
Jonas Hiller, getting his second start in a row, was just as stellar on Saturday as he was shutting out the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night. Hiller had to work hard, stopping 42 shots in the victory, 15 in the first period alone. It was a career high number of saves for the Swiss netminder in a game.
The Coyotes came out with energy and speed and had chance after chance after chance. The ice was clearly tilted in their favor. Then Anaheim got its first power play of the night.
Dustin Penner got the Ducks on the scoreboard at 11:11 with his fifth of the year. Regardless of being outshot 11-3, the number that mattered at that point was how many of them made it into the net.
Mike Ribeiro, who always seems to be able to score against the Ducks no matter what uniform he is wearing, tied up the game at 7:27 of the second period. The tie didn't last long. Penner got his second of the game just :36 seconds later.
After that, the Ducks never yielded the lead. Corey Perry, playing in his 600th game, extended the lead with his 13th of the year at 11:01. Sami Vatanen, recalled from Norfolk after an injury to Luca Sbisa, made it 4-1 on another power play goal at 16:43.
It was a very quite arena after that.
Shane Doan's marker at 4:20 of the third period brought the Coyotes within two and gave him an eight game point streak. Try as they might to add more, Hiller stood firm.
"We knew it was going to be a tough building to play in," said Hiller. "We played a really solid road game. I was definitely excited to get the two points."
Unlike the previous evening, at least Hiller knew he was going to be in net.
"It’s definitely easier coming off a good game and finding your way right into it," Hiller commented. "I thought early on I had a few shots, so it was nice to be right into the game again. Everybody battled hard, guys were blocking shots. That’s what’s needed to win."
The latest win keeps the Ducks on top of the standings in the NHL, extra important as all the teams breathing down their neck have games in hand.
"It’s a great feeling," said Perry. "This is where we want to be and this is what we’ve worked hard for. We took last year in stride and we kind of brought the same mentality into this year, and it’s been working for us."
Ducks now get a couple days rest before tackling the Dallas Stars on Tuesday evening.
In other notes: Frederik Andersen was recalled from Norfolk due to the extended injury to Viktor Fasth. He backed up Hiller and they will continue to split duties. Luca Sbisa is out for 6-8 weeks with a tendon tear in his right hand. Surgery to repair the tendon is scheduled for Monday.