Photos by Norm Hall
By Sergey Kocharov
Rob Niedermayer scored two goals as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim used a balanced attack to defeat the Phoenix Coyotes 5-3 at Glendale Arena on Saturday night.
Six different Ducks recorded at least a point and Jean-Sebastien Giguere only had to make 14 saves for Anaheim, which improved to a season-best 30-20-12.
The Coyotes, meanwhile, dropped to 29-31-4 on the season and are now 12 points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings.
"They played like a team that was desperate to win and we were just standing around," said Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky. "They were hungry to get the puck going hard to the net and we were just standing around.
"If we're not going to battle, I will put in young guys that will."
Geoff Sanderson, Steve Reinprecht and Shane Doan all scored and Curtis Joseph made 31 saves for the Coyotes, who were out-shot 35-17.
"They took control early and played the whole game in our zone," said Doan. "Everyone in this room needs to be better. We can't allow ourselves to take that many penalties. It's just frustrating."
Anaheim, controlling the play most of the second period, took a 4-2 lead when Jonathan Hedstrom and Francois Beauchemin connected back-to-back in a 43-second span.
With traffic in front of the net, Hedstrom sent a hard shot past Joseph to notch his 12th goal of the season. Beauchemin followed with a similar tally on the power play to give Anaheim a two-goal lead in a period which saw Anaheim oushoot Phoenix 15-3.
"We can't get any momentum when our best players are on the ice killing penalties," said Sanderson. "We have to be more disciplined than what we showed tonight."
Doan brought Phoenix to within a goal when he scored with 2:07 left in regulation but with Joseph pulled for an extra attacker, Anaheim sealed the win on Rob Niedermayer's empty net goal - his second of the game.
"We have to find a way to regroup here," said Sanderson. "We came out flat and they took advantage."
The Ducks scored the game's first goal as Rob Niedermayer capitalized on the rebound at the 5:44 mark of the first period. Sanderson made it 1-1 when he split through two Anaheim defensemen to register his 21st goal of the season. Reinprecht gave Phoenix their first lead of the game midway through the period, but that was short lived as Selanne responded just 1:14 later on a two-on-one breakaway.
The Coyotes made a league-high six deals on the trading deadline day of Thursday. Defenseman Jamie Rivers made his debut in Columbus just hours after being acquired from Detroit while forward Oleg Kvasha played in his first game on Saturday. With defenseman Sean O'Donnell's departure to Anaheim, Derrick Morris was named the alternate captain for the remainder of the season.
The Coyotes became the 13th team in the league to have three 20-goal scorers on their roster when Geoff Sanderson scored at Columbus on Thursday. Sanderson joined Shane Doan and Mike Comrie at the 20-goal plateau this season.
The Coyotes will conclude the home-and-home series with the Mighty Ducks and embark on a five-game road trip that will commence on Sunday. The Coyotes will travel to Anaheim (Sunday, 6:00 p.m.), Los Angeles (Tuesday, 8:30 p.m.), Nashville (Thursday 6:00 p.m.), Chicago (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.) and Columbus (Mar. 21, 5:00 p.m.) before returning on Mar. 23 to host the Chicago Blackhawks at Glendale Arena.