ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks forced the Phoenix Coyotes out of their game by drawing penalties and keeping their best players on the ice in short-handed situations that interfered with their regular shifts.
Kyle Chipchura put Anaheim ahead for good with his first goal since joining the club earlier this month, and the Ducks got power-play goals from Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan to beat Phoenix 4-2 on Saturday.
Coyotes defenceman Ed Jovanovski received four minor penalties, and was in the box both times that Anaheim capitalized with the man advantage. The 14-year veteran had only six minor penalties in 23 previous games this season.
“It shows that we’re moving our feet. When you’re not moving your feet, you’re not going to draw penalties,” Ducks forward Todd Marchant said. “We seemed to have Jovanovski’s number today. It happens. I mean, I’ve been in that situation – where it seems like every time you put a stick on somebody, you’re getting a penalty called against you.”
The Ducks began the day with the NHL’s second-best power-play percentage (23.2). Their seven power play opportunities against Phoenix were the most they’ve had since Nov. 19, when they were 3-for-7 in a 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay.
The Coyotes haven’t been short-handed this many times in one game since Oct. 31, when they killed off six of seven power plays against Anaheim in a 3-2 shootout win.
“Anytime you take penalties, it’s going to give the other team opportunities. And that is basically wheat happened today,” Jovanovski said. “They are a team that works hard, and they’ve got some skill to go along with it.”
Getzlaf scored for the third straight game when he beat Ilya Bryzgalov at 17:26 of the second for a 3-1 lead while Jovanovski was off for holding Kyle Calder. Ryan connected with 20 seconds to play after Jovanovski was sent off for hooking Corey Perry.
“We did everything we could to give the game away. We took bad penalty after bad penalty,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. “When you are taking a penalty, either you are getting beat or you are not being smart with your stick. When you take that many penalties, it just wears too many guys down and it’s going to bite you. We did that right until the end of the game – and it bit us at the end of the game.”
Mike Brown scored Anaheim’s first goal. Jonas Hiller made 39 saves, helping the Ducks win for the third time in four games despite the fact that they were outshot 41-33. He stopped all 17 shots he faced in the first period against a team that is 16-2-1 when scoring first.
“The whole team did a better job in our defensive zone,” Hiller said. “Phoenix had a lot of shots, but not the most dangerous shots. Our defencemen did a pretty good job of taking the middle away, so they had to shoot from an angle. I was able to cut down the angle and the puck just hit me. So I definitely see improvement back there.”
Shane Doan and Adrian Aucoin scored for the Coyotes, and Bryzgalov made 29 saves against the team he helped win a Stanley Cup in 2007 as Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s backup. One came on a penalty shot by Marchant with 2:39 to play.
The Coyotes, who have a nine-point lead on the Ducks, haven’t finished ahead of them in the standings since the 2001-02 season – the last time Phoenix made the playoffs.
“We don’t look at any opponent any differently, even if our effort out there says otherwise,” Marchant said. “But these are games where we’ve got to somehow dig down deep and get those big efforts.
“You look at the standings every day, and we don’t seen to be moving much. But we’re getting points in these games. So we’ve got to start making our push and get ourselves in a playoff spot. It’s going to take a lot of effort and sacrifice.”
Doan tied the game at 12:12 of the second period, beating Hiller high to the glove side with a 15-foot wrist shot. But Anaheim regained the lead just 34 seconds later.
Matt Beleskey set up Chipchura in the low slot for a short backhander that trickled through Bryzgalov’s pads. It ended a 40-game goal drought for Chipchura, playing in his eighth game with Anaheim since being obtained from Montreal on Dec. 2.
“The pedigree that is behind Kyle Chipchura is impeccable, from a hockey standpoint,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “He’s getting probably much more of an opportunity here than in Montreal because it’s more comfortable for him.”
NOTES: Doan and Radim Vrbata both became the first Phoenix players with at least 20 points. The Coyotes were the only team in the league that hadn’t had anyone with 20 or more. Vrbata had an assist on Aucoin’s goal. … The Ducks are 6-0-3 in their last nine games against Phoenix. … The Coyotes concluded their four-game road trip 2-2-0. They will play 13 of their next 15 games at home, where they are 12-5-0. … The Ducks are 6-0-3 in their last nine games against Phoenix. Hiller came in 7-0-2 with a 2.20 goals-against average in his 10 previous career starts against the Coyotes.