By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – Leave it to Nick Bonino to bring the Honda Center crowd to its feet one more time.
Bonino, an overtime hero in last year’s playoffs for Anaheim, found a way to score another dramatic goal – and added another in the shootout – to help the Ducks pull off a 3-2 victory over the Coyotes at Honda Center. It was the sixth straight win for Anaheim (6-1-0), which hasn’t lost since a 6-1 defeat in Colorado on opening night.
"It’s familiar to us," Bonino said. "Last year, we found ways to win no matter how we played. I think everyone here will agree our last two games haven’t been our best games, or our sharpest games. But, winning teams find ways to win no matter how ugly it is."
After being frustrated for much of the game by Phoenix goalie Mike Smith, the Ducks came to life on an improbable Bonino goal with 2:02 remaining in the game. Bonino desperately flipped the puck on net from right against the right wing wall, and it flew past a ducking Dustin Penner and eluded Smith, who never saw it.
"Usually, I get to that spot, backing up the D on those faceoffs, and I’m just going to rim it down the boards," Bonino said. "But, I had an extra second and I knew Penner was stationed in front. I just tried to put it on net. About halfway there, I noticed the line the puck was on was looking pretty good, and that Smith had no idea where it was. It went in, and I was happy."
The Ducks held the Coyotes without a shot for the final 4:51 of regulation, forcing an overtime period in which neither team found the net. That gave way to a six-round shootout in which Bonino led things off with a gorgeous stop-and-go move for the goal, and Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne and Jakob Silvferberg also converted their attempts.
But it wasn’t until Silfverberg buried a wrist shot just under the crossbar and Jonas Hiller followed with a save on Shane Doan in the sixth frame that the Ducks sealed the victory in front of an elated home crowd.
"Today maybe wasn’t our best game again, but we played really good defensively, and we didn’t give up too many chances," Silfverberg said. "We have great goaltending, and that’s been taking us to a couple wins in the last couple games."
Phoenix had taken its first lead 7:54 into the third period when a Rostislav Klesla wrist shot from the point deflected off the wrist of defenseman Bryan Allen and got past Hiller. As time wound down in the third, Anaheim looked resigned to suffer the defeat until Bonino brought new life to the building.
The 43-year-old Selanne, who scored his first goal of the season two nights ago, was flying all night and potted his second in as many games 6:38 into the first period. Mathieu Perreault thwarted a Coyotes clearing attempt and quickly got the puck to Selanne, who slid it along the ice and under Smith.
"It was his best game of the year, by far," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "He looked like he was 33 again tonight. He didn’t score a goal in the shootout last year in five attempts, but I knew what he was going to do, and I just felt he was going to score. He was on his game."
The Ducks had a couple of chances to increase the lead on the power play, but couldn’t convert, dropping to 1 for 26 on the season to that point.
Instead, Phoenix got even 11:11 into the middle session, as Keith Yandle sent the puck to Antoine Vermette, who redirected it through from just outside the left post.
"I thought it was a good hockey game," Boudreau said. "It’s two teams that have played against each other for a while. We know how tough they are, and they know how tough we are. We got a lucky goal and continued to fight. I thought we had a lot of really good chances."
The Ducks will look to make it seven straight when they take on Dallas at home to complete the homestand before eight straight on the road.
The Ducks improved their 2013-14 record to 6-1-0, the first time in club history the team has won six of its first seven contests. The club’s 12 points through seven equals the best start in club history (5-0-2 in 2006-07).
The Ducks are 4-0-0 at HOME, the best start to a season at Honda Center all-time.
The Ducks have won six straight games, tied for the longest streak in the NHL this season (also longest active streak). The last time Anaheim won six straight was Feb. 9-24, 2013 (6-0-0).
Tonight marked Teemu Selanne’s 450th goal as a Duck (677th career). He has goals in consecutive games (2-0=2).
Jakob Silfverberg is now 5-for-8 (62.5%) in shootouts with tonight’s goal accounting for the second game-deciding shootout goal of his career.
Jonas Hiller remains undefeated this season, now 4-0-0 with a 1.45 GAA, .954 SV% and one shutout.
The club’s opening five-game homestand closes on Sunday vs. Dallas. The evening will serve as Hockey Fights Cancer Night presented by Loma Linda University Health.
Tonight’s attendance was 13,206.
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