The Ducks lately have been racking up points against teams in playoff spots or right on the cusp, but tonight they dug themselves a hole too deep to climb out. Facing an Arizona Coyotes team that entered the game in the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, the Ducks didn't do themselves any favors in a 6-1 loss at Gila River Arena on Thursday. They gave up the opening goal late in the first period to one of the NHL's deadliest penalty-killing teams, an Oliver Ekman-Larsson tally that represented the Coyotes' 15th shorthanded goal of the season.
Special teams and goaltending were difference makers in this game. In addition to their shorthanded goal, the Coyotes tacked on two more on the power play, while the Ducks came up dry on theirs. (Anaheim was also guilty of giving Arizona five power plays). Anaheim peppered Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper throughout the game, but only once found the back of the net. Kuemper finished with 37 saves.
The Ducks were staring down a two-goal deficit before they got on the board, a Jakob Silfverberg goal just 58 seconds into the second period. Initially, the goal was credited to Devin Shore, but it was later given to Silfverberg after further review showed Shore's shot grazed Silfverberg's inner leg before sailing over Kuemper's glove. It marked Silfverberg's team-leading 21st goal of the season, and pushed his point streak to a career-high seven straight (5g/4a).
Video: ANA@ARI: Shore cuts to the middle, goes top-shelf
Vinnie Hinostroza had himself a night, recording his first career hat trick that included two power-play goals in the second period to give the Coyotes 3-1 and 4-1 leads. They were timely goals, too, as his first of the night came just 3:17 after Silfverberg cut Arizona's lead in half. Hinostroza's second goal was the result of being at the right place at the right time because Jason Demers' point shot from the right point caromed off the skate of Ducks defenseman Jaycob Megna and right into Hinostroza's wheelhouse at the left dot. His third goal came with 49.9 seconds left in regulation when he pounced on a turnover from Nick Ritchie in the slot.
As for the highlights, Miller and teammate Korbinian Holzer teamed up for one of the better scramble sequences you'll see. It started with Miller's sensational diving stop on Clayton Keller, and finished with Holzer absorbing a shot in his midsection to save a goal.
Video: ANA@ARI: Miller, Holzer turn away the Coyotes
It'll be a quick turnaround for the Ducks, who will travel to Denver to take on the well-rested Colorado Avalanche tomorrow night at 6 p.m. PT. The Avs haven't played since Tuesday, and sit five points out of a playoff spot.