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Hanzal's pair helps Coyotes edge Ducks

by Curtis Zupke /
ANAHEIM, Calif. – It was appropriate that a shutdown center ended the Phoenix Coyotes' frustrating scoring drought.

A team that relies on creating turnovers from an aggressive forecheck finally got rewarded for its work Sunday as Martin Hanzal scored two goals in a 5-4 victory against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.

Hanzal's first goals of the season snapped a four-period scoring drought and Phoenix enjoyed a three-goal outburst in the second to snap a two-game losing streak.

"It was a big game for us," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "We kind of answered the fact that we've played OK (although) we didn't score (in that span). We found a way to get one early to take the pressure off and play with the lead early instead of chasing it all night."

Phoenix forced Anaheim into 15 giveaways and was credited with seven takeaways.

The five goals drove Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller from the net for the first time this season. Mike Smith made 30 saves, including a highlight stop on Bobby Ryan to preserve a 5-3 lead in the third.

One of the Coyotes' goals came when Anaheim couldn't clear the puck, and that defined the night for both sides.

Anaheim was particularly careless but ended up with four goals, including the first of the season by Lubomir Visnovsky and Ryan Getzlaf.

But Phoenix controlled the play.

"Normally you don't give up four and call yourself a real strong defending team," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "We came in and wanted to play a good road game and find a way to win a hockey game."

Hanzal was a 16-goal scorer last season but he's also a defensive forward and penalty killer who is matched up against the opponents' top lines.

"He's probably, if not the best kept secret in the League, right up there," Doan said. "You ask all those guys in our division that have to play against him – Getzlaf and (Anze) Kopitar and (Joe) Thornton and (Mike) Ribeiro – he does an incredible job. He's a huge part of our team."

Hanzal scored on an open net after Mikkel Boedker won the puck from Brandon McMillan near the end boards, and he added another goal on a slap shot that got through Hiller's blocker to tie it at 2.

"I was waiting six, seven games so it feels nice when you score the first," Hanzal said.

The game turned when Phoenix killed off Hanzal's delay of game penalty to start the second period with the scored tied at 2.

Boyd Gordon was left open to tap in a feed from Taylor Pyatt for the go-ahead score at 4:47. Phoenix made it 4-2 when Teemu Selanne overskated the puck and Lauri Korpikoski wristed it through Toni Lydman and Hiller.

A hustle play by Daymond Langkow capped the three-goal second as Langkow hurried to keep in Cam Fowler's clearing pass. Doan had his shot attempt spill out to Keith Yandle, who snapped it in past Hiller for a 5-2 lead at 7:56.

Hiller was pulled for Dan Ellis after he allowed five goals for the first time since Jan.20, his only such game in 49 appearances last season.

But some of the goals were clearly the product of shaky play by his teammates.

"It definitely looked like we were losing the puck way more often in our zone," Hiller said. "It looked like we were feeding the opponent instead of putting pucks deep and making simple plays and playing our game."

It was a disappointing loss by Anaheim, which begins a seven-game road trip Tuesday in Chicago on a two-game losing streak.

Not only were the Ducks sloppy much of the game, they got nothing in four attempts from their 24th-ranked power play.

The former will be the main topic on the road.

"This is a trip you can definitely use to see where we're going to go," Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said. "We can play more simple on the road. Less complicated is exactly what we need right now. We're not executing like we need to. We're making too many mistakes.”

Andy Miele made his NHL debut and replaced Petteri Nokelainen as fourth-line center for the Coyotes. Nokelainen and defenseman prospect Garrett Stafford were traded to Montreal on Sunday for Brock Trotter and a seventh round draft pick in 2012.

Brad Watson was the game's only referee because Steve Lazari was ill, according to Anaheim officials.
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