GLENDALE, Ariz. – After a difficult start, the Phoenix Coyotes have finally figured out how to win at home.
Peter Mueller scored the only goal in a shootout to give the Phoenix Coyotes a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night. Phoenix had won just five times in 16 home games.
The Coyotes equalled a season high with three straight wins at home, and have a four game winning streak overall.
Mueller was the first Phoenix shooter and beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere with a wrist shot. Ilya Bryzgalov then stopped Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Brandon Bochenski to win it.
“I took an opening and (Giguere) read that I was going between the pads,” Mueller said. “But, he gave me an opening on the short, left hand side.”
Giguere admitted he didn’t know much about Mueller, a 19-year-old rookie.
“I tried to play him aggressively,” Giguere said. “Actually, I got a piece of the puck. It hit in the inside of my blocker, and went in.”
The game began well for Anaheim but had a sour finish.
“We would like to come out with two points, but we’ll settle for the one,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “I can’t be disappointed by our work ethic and our effort.”
For the second straight game, the Ducks struck early.
Ryan Getzlaf tipped in Kent Huskins’ shot from the left point for his 16th of the season, scored 2:30 into the game. It was Getzlaf’s third goal in 13 games. In Friday’s night win against Chicago, Corey Perry scored 16 seconds in.
Phoenix tied it at 1 when Shane Doan converted Mueller’s centring pass at 1:46 of the second.
The Ducks regained the lead 37 seconds later after Craig Weller give the puck away to Chris Kunitz just inside the Coyotes blue-line. Kunitz’s shot from the left point was deflected in by Doug Weight at 2:23.
The Coyotes made it 2-2 on Steven Reinprecht’s power-play goal at 13:27 of the second. Crashing in from the left side, Reinprecht took a perfect pass from Derek Morris and ripped the puck past Giguere.
That was Reinprecht’s fifth goal in four games after he netted seven in the previous 36.
“It was a playoff atmosphere in the building,” Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. “The intensity of the game was really solid and you need guys to step forward. I thought that was the best game our team played all season.”
Notes: The Coyotes are 4-1 in shootouts, the Ducks are 4-5 Mueller has scored three goals in four shootout attempts … Bryzgalov faced his former teammates for the second time. He won another shootout on Nov. 23. After missing one game because of a hand injury, Doan returned to the lineup, and scored his 11th goal. … With a first-period assist, the Ducks’ George Parros earned his fourth point in 41 games.