Sami Vatanen got back into the lineup tonight, due to Luca Sbisa going out with a torn tendon in his hand, sustained last night, per Eric Stephens Sbisa will be out 6-8 weeks following surgery scheduled for Monday. Also according to that Stephens tweet, Viktor Fasth will be out 3-4 weeks with a lower body injury. Therefore, the Ducks have called up Nolan Yonkman and Frederik Andersen.
First Period Recap: It was all Phoenix in the early going, thanks in part to an Emerson Etem slashing penalty. By the eight minute mark the shots were 8-0 for the Coyotes, but Jonas Hiller was equal to the task, especially having to deal with quite a bit of traffic on several of the opportunities. The Ducks gained some of the momentum back in the subsequent few minutes leading to a Mike Ribeiro penalty and the game's opening goal by Dustin Penner on the ensuing power play.
The Coyotes allowed the Ducks to pass the puck around the zone with ease on the goal, including Cam Fowler's pass to Penner, uncontested in the slot. Even though it was on the power play, it's strange to see the Coyotes play such poor defense.
The next best opportunity for either side in the first was also on the stick of Penner. With just over a minute remaining, Mike Smith stopped a Corey Perry bid and the rebound came right to Penner with a gaping net, but he wasn't able to hit it as the puck fluttered on him.
Before the end of the period, Rob Klnkhammer took the puck right into Hiller's crease off of a faceoff for the Coyotes' most dangerous chance that didn't involve a shot from long range with bodies in front.
The period ended with Phoenix nearly doubling the Ducks' shot total (15-8) but Anaheim leading 1-0 where it counts.
Second Period Recap: Early in the second period Bryan Allen left the game, adding to the Ducks' walking wounded, with a lower body injury and did not return. The post game update provided some good-ish news for the Ducks depleted D-Corps:
BB said they'll see how Bryan Allen reacts to tomorrow's off day. Doesn't think his lower-body injury is nearly as serious as others ailing.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) November 24, 2013
Shortly after the Allen's last shift (which appeared to be more of a test for the injury than the play where the it actually occurred) Etem went on a breakaway when David Runblad's stick broke as he took a shot from the point. The stickless Runblad grabbed Etem as he went in on Mike Smith, resulting in a penalty shot. Etem tried to go five hole on the backhand with the penalty shot, but was stopped by Smith.
Two minutes later, Ribeiro equalized for the Coyotes, knocking a rebound out of mid air and past Hiller. Ribeiro might be the only player in the league that can go toe to toe with Corey Perry's ratio of skill to douchiness.
Thirty seconds later Penner answered right back with his second of the night. Penner was in on a 2-on-1 with Ryan Getzlaf and made a real nifty little fake pass move to freeze the defensman before zipping a wrister low on Smith.
Remember that thing I just said about Ribeiro and Perry? Well Pears proved it by extending the Ducks' lead to two goals about three minutes after Penner's second. Getzlaf cut off a clearing attempt at the blue line and got the puck to Perry, as he does. Then Perry cut HARD to the middle of the ice, made a move on Michael Stone that caused him to fall down and gave Perry all kinds of time and space to roof it from the slot.
With Rostislav Klesla in the box for tripping Getzlaf, Hiller had to bail himself out when he tried to clear the puck but turned it over and created a semi 2-on-1 break for the Coyotes. He made the save and in fact the Ducks got a decent chance on the counter but couldn't convert.
They did however convert on their next power play that came as the result of a Paul Bissonnette hit on Cam Fowler. Nothing extremely dirty by BizNasty as the puck was in Fowler's feet but Devante Smith-Pelly took exception. The result was interference and roughing to Biz and rouging for DSP. Sami Vatanen scored on the ensuing power play, as he snuck in to the top of the circles and received a gorgeous backhand pass from Mathieu Perreault.
Shots were even in the second at 15 each, and the Ducks took a 4-1 lead to the dressing room.
Third Period Recap: Phoenix opened the third with Tomas Greiss in net, rather than Mike Smith, although Smith was left out to dry by his defense on just about all of the goals.
Less than five minutes into the third Shane Doan tipped in an Oliver Eckman-Larseen shot to make it 4-2. The Coyotes had the better of the play in the third while the Ducks protected their lead, but little came of their 14-4 shot advantage after the Doan goal.
The Good: The bane of our existence this season, special teams, came through in a big way tonight. The power play was 2-for-4 and the kill was a perfect 4-for-4.
The Bad: This is supposed to be something bad for the Ducks, but I have to reiterate how shocked I am that Phoenix allowed the Ducks into the middle of the ice so easily on so many chances. Especially the first, third and fourth goals (despite killing penalties on the first and last). It's just not Phoenix's game to allow their opponents into those dangerous areas of the ice.
The Ugly: Injuries, injuries, injuries. I know the Fasth and Sbisa injuries actually occurred last night, and made way for Vatanen and Andersen to return to the big club, but when will it ever stop?
3rd MVD: Cam Fowler - was forced to log HUGE minutes (29:03) due to the beat up blue line and acquitted himself well enough especially considering he started only 22.2% of his 5-on-5 shifts in the offensive zone (in comparison to 61.5% last night).
2nd MVD: Jonas Hiller - made a season high 42 saves, not all of them were spectacular, but he had to deal with some difficult traffic and was only beaten by an incredible display of skill and a deflection. Good thing he seems to be picking up his game, because Fasth's injuries are starting to be a real concern.
1st MVD: Dustin Penner - just a bouncing puck away from his first career hat trick, Pens had important goals to open the scoring and respond immediately to Ribeiro tying the game up in the second.
Next Game: Tuesday, November 26 5:00 p.m. PST @ Dallas Stars