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Coyotes escape Western Conference basement with shutout against the Canucks

The Coyotes received outstanding goaltending from backup netminder Devan Dubnyk and a natural hat trick from center Martin Hanzal en route to shutting out the Vancouver Canucks.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

A night after they produced an all-around poor performance in Calgary, the Arizona Coyotes played possibly their best game of the season so far. In addition, they kept their former teammate Radim Vrbata and his teammates off the scoreboard. The 5-0 win also means two points which get the Coyotes out of the Western Conference basement.

Despite Arizona being outshot 12 to three in the first period, it was the hockey club from the Sonoran Desert which found the back of the net in the first. Hanzal scored what would be the first of many on the night with less than five minutes remaining in the opening period. Defensemen Keith Yandle left the ice late in the period after his skated awkwardly into the boards while tied up with Canucks forward Derek Dorsett. Thankfully, the veteran defensemen returned to the contest early in the second stanza.

The Canucks continued to put shots on net and pressure on the Desert Dogs at the beginning of the second period. On three occasions in the middle of the frame, three separate Coyotes' defensemen went to the ice to stop passes or shots. The tide began to turn with about eight minutes to go in the period. There were end to end chances including a Mikkel Boedker shot on a 2-on-1.

With 4:35 to go in the second, Tobias Rieder threw a shot toward the net which was redirected into the goal by Martin Hanzal's stick. The Canucks claimed Hanzal's stick was above the crossbar on the redirection, but the review was inconclusive so the goal stood. The Czech center then scored again nine seconds later to complete his natural hat trick.

The Yotes weren't done.

With time ticking away in the period, Shane Doan passed the puck to Sam Gagner and then Gagner returned the favor which resulted in a Doan blast which found the back of the net make it 4-0 with just 2.7 seconds left in the middle frame.

The Canucks came out of the locker room with a burst of energy to start the third. However, the Coyotes soon matched the Canucks' intensity. The Dogs continue to stymie the home team as they had all night. Even when Vancouver finally gained their first real sustained zone time of the evening, the Coyotes stuck to their defensive plan. Yandle added a cherry on top of the Coyotes' British Columbia sundae with a power play goal late in the third.

Paw Prints

  • Brandon Gormley and Brandon McMillan both returned to the lineup after a brief one-game stint in the press box. The healthy scratches were Kyle Chipchura, Chris Summers, and David Schlemko. Schlemko was placed on waivers earlier in the day.

  • While the Yotes were outshot for the second night in a row, the Coyotes blueline, individually and as a whole, played a much better game than they had the night before, maybe the best they have all season. Their positioning and gap control were noticeably improved.
  • Doan scored for the second game in a row.
  • After an extended power play drought, the Coyotes have now scored on two of their last four power play opportunities.
  • Dave Tippett's line shakeup seemed to energize the team.
  • Rieder continues to impress. He picked up his first NHL assist and drew the penalty which led to Yandle's PP goal.
  • The Coyotes blocked 23 shots compared to the Canucks' eight.
  • Arizona won 54 percent of the faceoffs.
  • The Coyotes only gave the Canucks three power play opportunities.
  • Sam Gagner was as active as he's been in his short time in Sedona Red, especially defensively.
  • Analytics: War on Ice Game Report / Natural Stat Trick
  • Vancouver perspective: Nucks Misconduct

Three Stars

1. Martin Hanzal. His second career hat trick plus a physical presence.

2. Devan Dubnyk. Shutout! He was calm and his rebound control was much better than it was his last time in net against the Capitals earlier in the month.

3. Keith Yandle. One goal and two assists. The Coyotes controlled play when he was on the ice.

Looking Ahead

The Western Canadian road trip ends with a trip back to the province of Alberta. The Desert Dogs take on the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday at 7 p.m. The team's only previous meeting this season was a wild 7- 4 affair in Glendale which Arizona won.