ANAHEIM, Calif. – An ugly goal by Nick Bonino helped the Anaheim Ducks overcome the defensive-minded Phoenix Coyotes on a night when their ragged power play continued to struggle.
Bonino scored the tying goal with 2:02 left in the third period, Jakob Silfverberg scored the deciding goal in the sixth round of the shootout and Jonas Hiller made 30 saves to lead the Ducks to a 3-2 victory over the Coyotes on Friday night.
The defending Pacific Division champions are off to their best start in franchise history, winning six straight following a 6-1 loss at Colorado on opening night. It’s also the first time the club has started 4-0 at home.
“Last year we found ways to win no matter how we played, so it’s familiar to us,” Bonino said. “I think everyone in here will agree that the last two games haven’t our best games or our sharpest games, but winning teams find ways to win no matter how ugly it is.”
Rostislav Klesla got his first goal of the season, Antoine Vermette also scored and Mike Smith made 37 saves for the Coyotes.
“We were scared to win. That is not how you finish off hockey games,” Smith said. “We were solid up until the third period, then we went out in the third and had six shots and let them come. When you give that team the chances that we gave them, sooner or later it’s going to get the back of the net.”
The Ducks were pressing for the equalizer in the Coyotes’ zone when Bonino threw the puck toward the net from the right point, and 6-foot-4 teammate Dustin Penner ducked his head in the low slot as it drifted past Smith’s stick.
“When they got the lead, they shut us down pretty good. But we continued to fight,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “This is what this group did all last year going into the third. We haven’t had to do it this year until tonight, but we know they’re capable of doing it. Even though it was a fluky goal, or whatever, they did it. It says that we’ve got character and don’t want to quit. We had a lot of great chances tonight and could have scored a lot more goals.”
Coyotes defenceman Keith Yandle received a double-minor for cutting Daniel Winnik with a high stick 30 seconds before the first intermission with Anaheim leading 1-0 on Teemu Selanne’s goal, but Smith stopped all seven shots he faced during the ensuing four-minute power play. The Ducks finished 0 for 4 with the man advantage, and are a league-worst 1 for 27.
“That’s not where we want to be on the power play, but we’ve survived,” Silfverberg said. “Today maybe wasn’t our best game again, but we played really good defensively and we didn’t give up too many chances.”
Klesla gave the Coyotes a 2-1 lead 7:54 into the third period with a screened 50-foot slap shot from the left point against Hiller, who thwarted all six Phoenix power plays.
The Ducks were playing keepaway in their own zone about 9 minutes into the second period when Francois Beauchemin passed the puck behind the net to defence partner Hampus Lindholm—and it ricocheted off Lindholm’s skate right to a Phoenix captain Shane Doan in the low slot.
Hiller turned aside Doan’s quick wrist shot, but the Coyotes tied the score at 11:11 of the period. Yandle got the puck from Mike Ribeiro about 40 feet from the net and set up Vermette at the left of the crease.
“We weren’t playing scared, but we didn’t play as well once we had the lead,” Doan said. “They obviously picked up their intensity a little bit more when they were down one.”
The Ducks didn’t get their second shot on net until the 6:38 mark, but Selanne made it count with his second goal of the season and 677th of his career.
NOTES: Frederik Andersen served as Hiller’s backup after getting recalled from Norfolk of the AHL. Viktor Fasth, who made 33 saves in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Calgary, did not dress because of a lower-body injury that occurred toward the end of Thursday’s practice. … Anaheim and the New Jersey Devils are the only teams in the league that have yet to get a goal from a defenceman. … Sunday’s home game against Dallas will be the Ducks’ first meeting with their longtime Pacific Division rivals since the off-season realignment that reduced the league from six to four divisions and put the Stars in the Central Division.