GLENDALE, Ariz. – Just shoot and don’t give the goalie time to think.
That was approach Teeme Selanne took, and it paid off. The Finnish Flash scored the only two Anaheim goals and lifted the Anaheim Ducks to a 2-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.
Selanne put away a first-period breakaway and added the winner with a third-period, power-play goal.
“I wanted to shoot quick to make sure (goalie Ilya Bryzgalov) was not expecting the shot,” Selanne said of the winning goal. “He is big and covers a great deal of the net, so I wanted to shoot quickly.”
Selanne managed to get the puck between Bryzgalov’s pads at 10:40 of the final period.
The Ducks’ effort was aided by the stellar play of Jonas Hiller, who made 30 saves.
Playing for the injured Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who sat out with back spasms, Hiller held off the Coyotes and earned his eighth win of the season. The Ducks are 2-5 against Phoenix with one game left against the Coyotes.
“We just ask our goalie to give us a chance to win,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “Jonas gave us a strong effort, but to have success, people have to step up and meet the challenge.”
Phoenix is six points behind eighth-place Colorado, and the post-season cutoff in the Western Conference, with six games to play. The Coyotes have the second worst home record in the NHL, ahead of only Los Angeles – which has the fewest points in the league.
Phoenix has dropped five straight and seven of eight.
“Every loss hurts just as much right now,” Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. “It’s really frustrating. We have lost five straight now, and at this time of the season, that’s unacceptable.”
Selanne scored the deciding goal after Phoenix defenseman Keith Ballard was given a 4-minute penalty for high-sticking at 10:10 of the third. The winning drive was a slap shot that went through the pads of Bryzgalov.
The Ducks never trailed and capitalized on a Coyotes turnover to score first.
Phoenix defenceman Zbynek Michalek turned over the puck to Todd Bertuzzi at center ice, and he sent Selanne in on a breakaway. Selanne’s backhander beat Bryzgalov at 6:11 of the first.
Hiller was tested throughout the opening two periods, but held Phoenix off the scoreboard. The Coyotes’ best chances came twice from Doan in the second period, and Hiller also stopped Ed Jovanovski in close with just over nine minutes left in the frame. He also turned away Radim Vrbata just as the buzzer ended the period.
“Sometimes it’s easier when you get many shots,” Hiller said. “That keeps your mind sharp and you stay in the game. It’s easy to play when you’re comfortable, and right now, I’m quite comfortable.”
Phoenix tied it 1-1 early in the third on a power-play goal from Jovanovski at 3:26. It was the Coyotes’ fifth power-play goal in two games.
Despite the defeat, the Coyotes’ effort caught the attention of coach Wayne Gretzky.
“Our guys played their hearts out in a 2-1 game,” he said. “I was very proud of our effort and thought we played a real solid hockey game.”
Notes: The Ducks were without four key regulars, Giguere, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, all injured, and suspended D Chris Pronger. Selanne moved into 22nd place on the NHL career goal list with 550. Next is Johnny Bucyk with 556. … Jovanovski has 12 goals, five off his career best set with Vancouver during the 2001-02 season.