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Koivu's OT goal gives Ducks 10th straight win

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- High-scoring games, low-scoring games, come-from-behind wins. The Anaheim Ducks' winning streak has taken on all forms, and the latest had Saku Koivu's veteran skill all over it.

Koivu's goal 51 seconds into overtime gave Anaheim a 3-2 win against the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Ducks extended a franchise record with their 10th consecutive win, the NHL's longest streak since the Pittsburgh Penguins won 15 in a row last March.

The Ducks remained the only team without a regulation loss at home (14-0-2).

Koivu tipped a shot by Ben Lovejoy, who took a pass from Cam Fowler at the top of the slot and snapped it on net. Koivu won a faceoff to start the possession that led to his second goal of the game, giving him 251 in his NHL career.

"Those tips there, they're more luck than anything else," Koivu said. "You try to get open and try to get your stick in there and try to get in front of the goaltender, and we got lucky on that one."

Anaheim, which trailed 2-0 in its previous game against the Washington Capitals on Monday, took the opposite route to this win. Phoenix erased a 2-0 deficit with 4:34 left in regulation on goals by Martin Hanzal and Mike Ribeiro.

The Ducks regrouped and rode Koivu's line and goaltender Jonas Hiller, who tied a Ducks record with his eighth straight win, matching the mark set by Viktor Fasth from Jan. 26-Feb. 16, 2013. Anaheim's last regulation loss was 6-3 to the Dallas Stars on Nov. 26, and coach Bruce Boudreau didn't downplay the significance of the streak.

"I think it's neat," Boudreau said. "Anytime you can get to be part of something that nobody else has done, I think it's a special occasion. I don't make light of it. I think No. 10 is magic when you get into streaks, because it doesn't happen very often."

Hiller made 23 saves, and the goals he allowed were forgivable.

The Coyotes pulled goalie Thomas Greiss for an extra attacker, and Ribeiro got his stick on Keith Yandle's slap shot from the right side that made it through traffic at 19:16 to stun the announced standing-room crowd of 17,442.

That came after Hanzal put a rolling puck into an open net after an odd dump-in carom at 4:34. Hiller came out to play the puck and got back to get the paddle of his stick on the shot but could not stop it. The goal was upheld after a video review.

Greiss, starting in place of Mike Smith, made 38 saves against one of the League's best offensive teams. The bulk of his work came with 29 saves through two periods. He helped the Coyotes withstand two effective Ducks power plays in a 16-shot second by Anaheim because of roughing and tripping penalties by Yandle and Radim Vrbata, respectively.

"He saw a lot of shots and he made a lot of saves," Yandle said of Greiss. "If you look at all their goals, it was tough saves. Not a lot of guys would have that. He did his job. We have to find a way to help him out a little more."

So much of Anaheim's streak has been about its top line, but on this night the Ducks needed Koivu's shutdown line to alleviate the scoring pressure.

Andrew Cogliano made a deft redirection to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead 5:04 into the third period. Daniel Winnik's pass might have deflected off a Coyotes player before a streaking Cogliano got his stick on it; Greiss had little chance on the play.

Koivu's first goal came shorthanded to finish off a sharp first period by Anaheim, which showed no rust from a four-day break. Koivu cut across to the left circle and, unpressured, took a short backswing and fired near the wall to beat Greiss to the stick side at 17:08.

Koivu said he's in a good place after he missed 15 games this season with a concussion.

"I think [250 is] a good number, but when you play with guys like Teemu [Selanne] on your team, and he has almost 700 goals, you kind of forget that," Koivu said. "But it's nice. I guess I'm not known for scoring goals, and it's a fairly good number, and I'll take it.

"After the concussion, there were a few games that kind of took me to get, not so much physically, but just the mental part of the game, to feel comfortable, and now I'm starting to get some results, and it's a good sign."

Phoenix is 3-3-4 without captain Shane Doan, out with Rocky Mountain fever. The Coyotes went past regulation for the fifth straight game and were coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks on Friday.

"It was a real tough turnaround with days off and then playing two games in less than 24 hours, so I give our guys credit for hanging in there, and we managed to salvage a point," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said.

"That's five games in a row in overtime [and] we have only got one extra point, so that's a little disappointing."

Anaheim's power play fell to 0-for-20 over seven games after it came up empty on three tries, although it had good puck movement and scoring chances. Its next chance will come Sunday at San Jose, but the Ducks allowed themselves to recognize 10 straight wins.

"The League is so competitive … we've been able to find ways to win games," Koivu said. "There's been a few that we've been down by a few goals but found ways to win the games and get the goals that we needed. Even though we know there's a lot of good things, we've got to find a bit more consistency when things are going well to push it a little more, but 10 wins is not easy and it's something that we can build on."

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