GLENDALE, Ariz. – Radim Vrbata has never given his scoring streaks much thought. His latest run is no exception.
Vrbata scored a pair of goals, giving him five goals in three games, and the Phoenix Coyotes beat the reeling Anaheim Ducks 4-2 on Wednesday night.
“You guys keep asking me the same question,” said Vrbata, whose leads Phoenix with 11 goals. “You need some luck to score goals in this league and right now I’m getting a little bit of luck.”
Vrbata broke a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal at 16:50 of the first period, taking Martin Hanzal’s backhanded blind pass from the left side of the crease in the middle of the left circle and beating Jonas Hiller with an easy wrist shot.
“I’ve seen that one before in practice,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said of the goal. “(Vrbata) is a clever guy. He plays a smart game, finds the openings and creates some opportunities.”
Vrbata got his second at 17:31 of the second period, keeping the puck on a 2-on-1 with Hanzal and scoring on a backhand shot as he skated across the front of the crease.
“You have to play your game and sometimes it goes in and sometimes it doesn’t,” Vrbata said. “I try to play the same, but the puck finds you sometimes.”
Keith Yandle had a goal and an assist and Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored for the Coyotes, who have won four of six.
“A lot of teams when they come off a trip they have a down game,” said Tippett, whose team went 3-2-0 on its just-completed five-game swing.
“We didn’t want that to happen. When you come off the road you wonder if you’re going to have that tempo but the guys came out and worked hard.”
Saku Koivu had his second goal in as many games and Corey Perry scored late for Anaheim, which has lost 12 of its past 14 (2-8-4).
“We’ve got to find a way,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “We were not being aggressive enough, simple enough from my standpoint. They’ve got to skate. We’ve got people that can skate. We’ve got people that can get involved physically.”
After Koivu scored on a deflection to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead at 5:44 of the first, Yandle tied the game on a one-timer from the outside hash of the left faceoff circle off a pass from Shane Doan.
Ekman-Larsson capped the scoring for Phoenix at 4:27 of the third, bouncing a shot off the skates of two Anaheim players—one between the circles and the second to the left of the crease—and past Hiller.
Perry, who was stopped on a breakaway by Mike Smith with a left pad save at 4:11 of the second, scored on another breakaway at 13:03 of the third.
“We’re holding our stick a little too tight,” Perry said. “Those things happen when we’re in this situation. It’s not easy to go out there and do what you normally do and things aren’t going the right way.”
Notes: Vrbata’s power-play goal was Phoenix’s first since Nov. 5, a span of six games. After scoring three power-play goals on opening night, the Coyotes have scored just six in their past 19 games. … Smith was called for a rare goaltender diving call when he was hit from behind by Anaheim’s Ben Waxwell at the bottom of the right faceoff circle. Tippett said he was less upset with that call than on the goaltender interference penalty Hanzal received in the first period when he bumped into Hiller. … Before the game, the Coyotes announced that they had come to terms with holdout C Kyle Turris on a two-year contract. Turris had to sign with the club by Dec. 1 or be ineligible for the season. He’s expected to begin skating this week and make a minor league conditioning assignment before rejoining the club.