ANAHEIM, Calif. – Randy Carlyle found a lot to like in the Ducks’ all-around play.
“Tonight was our best team effort that we’ve had,” the Anaheim coach said after a 2-0 victory over Phoenix on Sunday night. “I think the difference in the game was our special teams.
“We got two power-play goals and they went (0-for-4) on their power play, so our penalty killers and our power play stood up.”
Rookie Bobby Ryan had a goal and an assist, and Jonas Hiller made 29 saves for the Ducks.
Both goals came on power plays after Phoenix was penalized for too many men on the ice.
Ryan assisted on Chris Pronger’s goal early in the second period, and scored his seventh goal early in the third.
With Anaheim’s defence playing well in front of him, Hiller logged his third career shutout.
“When you have a night where your goaltender throws a shutout, then you don’t have to score that many to win and tonight was one of those,” Carlyle said.
The Ducks took over sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division behind San Jose. Anaheim and Phoenix were tied with 43 points heading into their contest.
Scott Niedermayer assisted on both goals, setting them up with quick, hard passes. On the second score, with the Ducks moving the puck briskly on the power play, he snapped a pass to Ryan near the goal-line on the left side. Shooting from a difficult angle, Ryan one-timed a shot past former Anaheim backup goalie Ilya Bryzgalov at 2:59 of the third.
“I think Scotty had too much to look at, and he found me off to the side virtually all alone,” Ryan said. “That’s tough for a goalie to get all the way back and across. It was easy for me to slide it home.”
Pronger got his seventh goal of the season at 3:32 of the second period.
Niedermayer and Pronger, the Ducks’ two former Norris Trophy winners, combined on a bang-bang play to open the scoring. Niedermayer controlled the puck behind the goal line, zipped a pass to Pronger in the right circle and he knocked the puck past Bryzgalov before he had much time to react.
Bryzgalov, back after missing two games with a sore back, faced 34 shots as the Coyotes were shut out for the fourth time this season and second time in four games. They lost 4-0 to Los Angeles on Dec. 27.
Bryzgalov was frustrated by the two times Phoenix was called for too many men on the ice, both proving to be costly mistakes.
“We are not playing for the first time. This is not our first game,” Bryzgalov said. “It’s one thing when you save a breakaway and you get the penalty. It’s another when you get it for nothing.”
Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said the first penalty was “confusion on the defensive part” and the second was a player thinking another had come off when he hadn’t.
“I guess that happens sometimes and it happened to us twice tonight,” Gretzky said.
Notes: The Coyotes fell to 6-11-3 on the road. … The Ducks ended a three-game home losing streak. … Anaheim was without F Corey Perry, serving the first game of a four-game suspension handed out by the NHL for elbowing Philadelphia F Claude Giroux in the Ducks’ 5-4 shootout loss on Friday night. Perry, who has 10 goals and 24 assists in 39 games, will be eligible to return Jan. 11 against New Jersey. … Phoenix was coming off a big offensive game, a 5-4 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday night.