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Viktor Tikhonov nets winning goal in shootout for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Jean-Sebastien Giguere tried to make the most of a rare relief appearance.

Giguere played a perfect third period, but Viktor Tikhonov scored in the fourth round of the shootout to lead the Phoenix Coyotes to a 5-4 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.

Giguere, who took over for starter Jonas Hiller, made the initial save on Tikhonov's shot with his left skate, but his leg and the puck barely crossed the goal-line to give the Coyotes the victory.

"I made the save and then my pad went in the net and the puck follows," Giguere said. "It was a little lucky but that's the way it goes."

Anaheim, which lost for the third time in 13 games, moved one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues for seventh place in the Western Conference. The Blues will finish the regular season Sunday in Colorado.

"We got ourselves in the playoffs now and we should be excited about that," said Ducks defenceman Scott Niedermayer, who had a pair of assists. "It's really not going to matter who we play. We're going to be playing a really good hockey club."

Phoenix entered the third period with a two-goal lead, but Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne scored 45 seconds apart to get the Ducks even.

Giguere helped carry Anaheim into overtime by stopping all nine shots he faced after replacing Hiller. It was his first game action since March 27 when he allowed four goals on seven shots.

"I don't know what's ahead of me," Giguere said. "I wanted to make sure this period was a good one, a positive one. Whatever the future holds we'll see what's going to happen. For now it felt good just to play one period."

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said he and his staff have not settled on a starter for the playoffs.

"As I've stated before we have 1-A and 1-B," Carlyle said. "These kind of things make these decisions even tougher. Four goals, that's what alarms me."

Ilya Bryzgalov warmed up for the shootout by stopping Andrew Ebbett's breakaway attempt off a long outlet from Chris Pronger with 1:01 left in overtime.

Steven Reinprecht scored a pair of power-play goals and added an assist for the Coyotes, who ended the season with five wins in seven games. Reinprecht and Shane Doan also scored in the shootout.

"We wanted to end on a high," Reinprecht said. "We wanted to come out and play well and get the win and we did, so that was great."

Todd Fedoruk and Enver Lisin also scored and Doan had two assists for Phoenix, which had been in fifth place in the West at the all-star break before a 12-20-2 free fall to end the season.

"As a team it was disappointing that the season is over but we got some positive things and we want to be better," Doan said. "We're going to be better and that's the most encouraging thing."

Corey Perry scored in regulation and the shootout, Erik Christensen had a goal in regulation, and Ryan Getzlaf added a shootout goal for the Ducks.

Lisin gave the Coyotes a 4-2 lead with 5.6 seconds left in the second period when he skated in from the left side and beat Hiller with a quick wrist shot.

But Ryan bounced a shot off the right post from the bottom of the left circle with 14:58 left, and Selanne scored from the centre of the right circle less than a minute later to make it 4-4.

Reinprecht put the Coyotes ahead 1-0 at 3:38 of the first period off a rebound from the left corner of the crease. Perry tied it at 2:39 of the second with a sweeping forehand shot after Bryzgalov stopped James Wisniewski's long attempt.

Fedoruk made it 2-1 at 7:00 of the second when he beat Hiller on a long rebound, and Reinprecht extended the lead to 3-1 at 12:21 of the second on another rebound, this one from the top of the crease.

Perry pulled the Ducks within 3-2 at 18:19 following a lengthy scramble in front. Bryzgalov stopped Niedermayer's initial shot but couldn't find the rebound. Two Coyotes joined the goalie in the crease before Perry reached in and tucked the puck into the open left side of the net.

Hiller, making his seventh straight start, stopped 20 of 24 shots in two periods before he was replaced by Giguere to begin the third.

Notes: Replay officials reviewed Tikhonov's goal for several minutes after the teams had left the ice to make sure he had not touched the puck twice. Phoenix beat the Ducks for the second time in six meetings and the first time since Oct. 12, the second game of the season. Anaheim closed the season with a 5-2 spurt. The Coyotes finished 23-15-3 at home but were just 13-24-4 on the road. Reinprecht's two-goal game was his second of the season. He also scored twice Dec. 4 against Toronto. Doan led the Coyotes with 31 goals and 42 assists.


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