After an incredibly slow first period that harkened back to all of the miserable hockey the Ducks played in November and December, the Ducks finally found their footing in the second en route to an eventual 4-1 victory. The third line of Andrew Cogliano, Nick Bonino, and Matt Beleskey hustled their tails off and created the first Ducks goal of the game after Mike Smith forgot that he should defend the area in front of the net, rather than the area behind it. Cogs used his speed to create the second goal of the game (with a healthy assist from Smith yet again) and a great touch pass from Bonino just minutes later gave Cogliano his third goal of the period and the first hat trick of his career.
The Ducks then survived a 5-on-3 penalty when referee Dan O'Halloran enforced NHL rule 69.3 and waved off what appeared to be Phoenix's second goal of the game early in the third period. Phoenix would never truly recover, and after exchanging a series of penalties with the Coyotes in the third period, the Ducks iced the game when Teemu Selanne skated the puck into the empty net for a power play goal.Good
- As mentioned in the opening, the third line was just fantastic tonight. When the rest of the team looked sluggish and uninterested in the first, only the third line looked like they had any kind of spark. Their hard work paid off, with the line combining for three goals, six points, and a plus nine rating on the evening. Each member of the line came to play tonight, with Beleksey's hustle and tenaciousness creating the opportunity for the first goal and Nick Bonino making beautiful passes on the first and third goals. Cogliano's speed helped him create the second goal and he managed to finish all three of his premium chances tonight, something he has failed to do on a regular basis this season.
- The fourth line also played a very strong game tonight and Mark Bell, who is clearly making the most of his first stay in the NHL in several years, won 66% of his draws tonight and chipped in a hit. When paired with George Parros, the two make for a hard working, physically imposing presence on the ice. On a night when the first two lines took some time to find their way, solid contributions from the bottom six proved to be the deciding factor.
- Jonas Hiller wasn't asked to make too many spectacular saves tonight, but he played a very solid game and once again gave the Ducks some needed stability. He did receive a few assists from the plumbing, but Hiller also kept the Ducks alive during a first period that saw them commit several heinous turnovers in their own end. Since the calendar flipped, Hiller is averaging a sparkling 1.45 goals against per game.
- The Ducks took some ill-timed penalties in this game, with Ryan Getzlaf, Nicklas Hagman, and Bobby Ryan all taking minor penalties when the Ducks' lead was still fairly tenuous. The Ducks ended up surving all three of the penalties, but the guys have got to be a little more careful once they've established a lead. The NHL is notorious for giving PP opportunities to the losing team, and the Ducks just have to be more mindful late in games.
- On the whole, the Ducks were pretty much handled in the faceoff circle, winning only 20 of the 48 draws tonight. Getzlaf, Saku Koivu, and Selanne all finished with winning percentages of .316 or less. Getzlaf only won one of the six draws he took tonight.
- Through the first 20 minutes, it appeared that the evil, crappy Ducks from November and December had come back to roost. They looked every bit of a team that had not played in a week as they struggled to move their legs and make their passes connect. The only Coyotes goal of the game came in the first on a bad turnover by Selanne and they very nearly repeated the feat later in that period on a equally bad pass by Getzlaf. I don't know what Bruce Boudreau said to his team during that first period intermission, but the Ducks came out with decidedly more energy in the second period and looked generally more responsible. When they were quickly rewarded on a gift-wrapped goal from Mike Smith, you could tell that the team fully bought in and the first two lines finally started to create some chances. While the team muscled their way out of their Mr. Hyde persona tonight, they really cannot afford too many more periods like that if they're going to make a run for the playoffs.