GLENDALE, Ariz. – Ed Jovanovski’s latest return from injury proved better than the first.
Jovanovski scored an unassisted goal and helped the Phoenix Coyotes beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Saturday night. “It was nice to come back and contribute,” Jovanovski said. “When you come back you’re working to get stronger, and that’s what I’m trying to do right now.”
Jovanovski missed eight games due to a lower body injury before returning for a game at Edmonton. He played the full game and the first period of the Coyotes’ next contest before sitting out twice.
“The first time he was second-guessing himself,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “This time he seemed more confident.”
Taylor Pyatt also had an unassisted goal, and Petr Prucha scored for the Coyotes, who won their fourth straight to match a season high. The Coyotes’ 13 goals during their winning streak were scored by 10 players.
“I think we’re just improving as a team,” Coyotes forward Danniel Winnik said. “I think we had a rough month in November and it looks like we’re bouncing back here in early December.”
This was Phoenix’s first victory over Ottawa since March 9, 2002.
“We’ll take the two points, but the reality is we’re better than we were tonight,” Tippett said.
Chris Kelly and Jesse Winchester scored for the Senators, who have dropped five of six (1-4-1). Ottawa is winless through four games of its five-game road trip that will end Sunday at Anaheim.
“We knew this was going to be a tough road trip, but we would have liked to start it better,” Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said.
Jovanovski corralled a clearing attempt just inside the blue line and used a screen by Prucha to beat Brian Elliott with a wrist shot from the high slot at 3:38 of the first period.
Pyatt made it 2-0 at 8:49 of the first, taking advantage of a turnover at mid-ice. He skated down the left side before shifting to the middle with a quick move and scoring with a backhanded shot from the top of the crease.
Prucha extended Phoenix’s lead to 3-0 at 10:25 of the second, chipping a soft, looping shot off Elliott’s glove from the bottom of the left circle for his second goal in two games. In the previous 18 games, he had no goals and two assists.
Kelly ended Ilya Bryzgalov’s shutout bid with 3:19 remaining, popping the puck into the air off Bryzgalov and into the net. Winchester added a goal off a rebound, while the Senators played with an extra attacker, with 45.8 seconds to go.
“We have to play with that kind of desperation from the drop of the puck, not just the end,” Senators coach Cory Clouston said. “We’ve been giving up early goals and that’s really costing us.”
Bryzgalov made 26 saves and has stopped 134 of 143 shots during his last five games.
“I think we were trying to ensure Bryzy got first star because we kept giving them good chances,” Tippett said. “We did enough good things to win, but let’s not kid ourselves. Bryzy was really good.”
NOTES: Phoenix also won four straight from Oct. 12-22. … Phoenix LW Peter Mueller missed his third straight game. Unlike the previous two, which were due to an upper body injury, the team listed Mueller as a healthy scratch against the Senators. It was the second time this season Mueller, who has one goal and three assists in 24 games, has sat out despite not being injured.