With pride on the line the Phoenix Coyotes came out strong against the Anaheim Ducks as last season's Pacific Division Champion faced off against this seasons Pacific Division Champion. The Coyotes played the type of game that many hoped they would play all season, they didn't trail once and they were good offensively.
Radim Vrbata opened up the scoring in the game early with a wrist shot from Shane Doan and David Schlemko. However, just over 2 minutes later, Teemu Selanne proved to be an ageless wonder as he shot in the tying goal. Kyle Chipchura managed to shoot a puck from Paul Bissonnette and Keith Yandle late in the period giving the Coyotoes the lead again. Lauri Korpikoski took an unfortunate tripping penalty 19:10 into the first giving the Ducks the first power play of the game.
The Coyotes started the second period down a man from the Korpi penalty, and Francois Beauchemin tied the game with a slap shot that went past Jason LaBarbera. Vrbata managed to get his second of the night with a tip-in just over 5 and a half minutes after that though, with assists from Martin Hanzal and Keith Yandle. After that the Coyotes had the lead for the rest of the game.
In the third, Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal found themselves deep in the Ducks zone short handed and Vrby got his 3 goal of the night short handed. Even though Bobby Ryan reduced the lead to one less then 2 minutes later the Coyotes stayed strong and kept Anaheim at bay, and Antoine Vermette's empty netter with just over a second to goal sealed the deal for the Coyotes giving them the win.
- Keith Yandle finished off the season with a 10 minute misconduct in the final minute of the game.
- It was revealed that defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson had been playing for the past few weeks with a broken foot and an injured finger.
- Keith Yandle and Martin Hanzal both had 2 points from assists and Radim Vrbata finished with 3 goals and an assist for 4 points.
- No Phoenix players were a minus on the evening.
- This was Radim Vrbata's 4th NHL hat trick.
- David Moss was a last minute scratch.
Five For Winning:
1. Play physical. The Ducks have already clinched the division and the second place in the Western Conference spot so they probably aren't going to want to risk playing too hard. The Coyotes seemed to be the more physical team out hitting the Ducks 29-24.
2. Discipline. The Coyotes need to stay out of the box and stop giving the other team the man advantage. The Coyotes took 5 penalties including a game misconduct from Keith Yandle in the final minute of the game.
3. Penalty kill. For whatever reason the Coyotes penalty kill has been lacking this season, something that wasn't a problem last season. Hopefully in the last game of the season they can figure out what was wrong and fix it. The Ducks did manage to score on their first power play, however after that the penalty kill unit was perfect, even getting a short handed goal.
4. Protect the leads. The Coyotes started off yesterday with a 2 goal lead however they let the Avalanche come back. If the Coyotes get up again they need to make sure the other team doesn't have the opportunity to come back. Although the Ducks did manage to tie the game, the Coyotes never let them take the lead.
5. Play for pride. There really isn't a reason for the Coyotes to come out strong for this game except for pride. They want to know they gave their best, especially against a division rival. Hopefully, a win over this year's Pacific Division Champs was good for everyone's pride.
Our Three Stars:
1. Radim Vrbata: Hat trick, game winning goal and an assist.
2. Jason LaBarbera. Barbs really stepped up for the last game of the season, he stopped 43 of 46 shots for a .935 save percentage.
3. Martin Hanzal. Two assists on the night including the primary assist for Vrby's second and third goal.
Comment of the Night:
Next up is the draft lottery and hope that the team gets lucky and gets the first pick.