Andy McDonald scored on a penalty shot to cap Anaheim’s four-goal second period and the Ducks improved on their best start in franchise history with a 6-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday night.
“I don’t think anybody in this dressing room is satisfied with the way we have played. At least I don’t see anybody excited about it,” forward Teemu Selanne said. “I haven’t heard one time anyone talking about how good a team we are We know we can be better, and we just have to keep pushing ourselves.”
Selanne, Chris Kunitz and Chris Pronger scored power-play goals, and the Ducks (10-0-4) grabbed the NHL points lead with 24 – one more than Buffalo (11-0-1), the only other team without a regulation loss.
“We realize there’s no better team in this league,” Selanne said of the Ducks. “That’s what these guys believe here, and that’s what it takes. We just have to raise the bar higher and higher. If you look at our lineup, there’s no weaknesses, really. I don’t think there’s any limits to what we can do. I really believe we have all the tools.”
Anaheim is one game shy of the longest point streak from the start of a season in NHL history, set by the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers (12 wins, three ties).
“Coming into the season, we realized we had a good team and we were going to need to build toward something special,” said Pronger, who also had two assists. “But it’s early November, and nobody hands the trophies out right now.”
Dustin Penner and Sean O’Donnell also scored, helping the Ducks beat Phoenix for the seventh straight time. Ilya Bryzgalov made 25 saves, and is 7-0 against Phoenix with a 1.71 goals-against average.
Patrick Fischer and Mike Comrie scored third-period goals for the Coyotes, playing for the first time since a 7-3 home loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday. Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky put the team through a four-day mini-camp, but it didn’t help the Coyotes (3-10). They already trail Anaheim by 18 points in the Pacific Division.
“Every loss is a tough loss, but this is discouraging because I think we played as badly as the score indicated,” Gretzky said. “It’s not fun. It’s disheartening. When your expectations of this group were much higher than they are right now, it’s really frustrating.”
McDonald was awarded his first career penalty shot at 19:10 of the second period after goaltender Curtis Joseph went for a head fake by the Ducks centre and threw his stick at the puck. Moments later, McDonald skated straight in on Joseph and beat him low to the stick side to make it 5-0.
The injury-plagued Coyotes, who have allowed at least one first-period goal in their first 13 games and came in averaging a league-worst 25.8 penalty minutes, limited Anaheim to just four shots before Derek Morris was sent off for interference at 16:55. Just eight seconds later, Kunitz scored on a rebound of Selanne’s shot.
Penner made it 2-0 at 2:07 of the second period.
After Jeremy Roenick earned a roughing penalty for retaliating on a hit by Francois Beauchemin against Phoenix forward Oleg Saprykin, the Ducks capitalized. Selanne’s slap shot from the right circle at 8:18 of the frame was Anaheim’s 700th power-play goal.
“It was a great hit, a fantastic hit,” Roenick said of Beauchemin’s check. “But as a player, you can’t one of your teammates get hit like that and not say something to him.”
When asked what the Coyotes’ biggest problem has been this season, Roenick said, “I really don’t have enough time to tell you. I mean, we can go with injuries to lack of discipline, to stupidity, to special teams, to goaltending, right on down the line. It’s awful.
“One bad thing leads to another and the ship just sinks so quick. It’s ridiculous. I mean, we work hard, then get a bad break and the whole thing shuts down. It’s so emotionally unstable all the way around, it’s incredible.”
Coyotes captain Shane Doan missed his third straight game because of a back injury.
Notes: The Ducks have not won a division title since entering the NHL in 1993-94. Last season, they set a franchise record with 98 points and finished sixth in the Western Conference. … David LeNeveu replaced Joseph at the start of the third period. … C Yanic Perreault, who signed a one-year contract on Monday, made his Coyotes debut on a line between Donald MacLean and rookie Enver Lisin. Phoenix is Perreault’s fifth team in 13 NHL seasons.