ANAHEIM – While the scoring in Anaheim may typically come from one of the league’s best first lines and an all-Finnish veteran second unit, it was their unheralded third line that led the way tonight for the Ducks.
The trio of Jason Blake, Nick Bonino and Andrew Cogliano combined for six points in pushing Anaheim to a 6-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes at Honda Center. It was the sixth win in the last seven for the suddenly resurgent Ducks, including four in a row at home.
Francois Beauchemin had two goals on the night, one in the first and one in the second to help Anaheim leap out to a two-goal lead they never surrendered. He also assisted on Corey Perry’s shorthanded breakaway goal late in the third that put the capper on another offensive explosion for the Ducks, who have outscored opponents 31-13 in the last seven games.
"The Cogliano line, with Blake and Bonino, was probably our best line tonight," Beauchemin said. "They were really hard on their team. They got the puck deep and did the little things to create stuff offensively."
Beauchemin is a team high plus-10 in the last seven games, while that third line improved to plus-11 in the last three.
"They are just so fast," said Bonino of his linemates. "My game is to move the puck and play down low. With those two guys, if I get them the puck in open ice they are going to get in the zone and make plays. They are so quick on the puck, hounding the other team in the neutral zone and the offensive zone, and create turnovers."
The Ducks actually trailed in the first period, after former Duck Kyle Chipchura slapped in a rebound to open the scoring 8:33 into the contest. But Niklas Hagman tied it by tipping in a Lubomir Visnovsky slap shot with 6:11 left in the first.
Less than two minutes later, Beauchemin gave Anaheim its first lead, as another Visnovsky rocket kicked hard off the leg of Blake, and Beauchemin punched in the rebound.
The Ducks started the second killing off 59 seconds of Phoenix power play time, but ultimately gave up a goal on the rush, as Ray Whitney lost Visnovsky and fed Daymond Langkow for the one-timer from the slot. That was the last goal given up by Jonas Hiller, who stayed hot with 25 saves on the night.
But Anaheim came back with two before the end of the period, thanks to the tireless work of that third line. With a little more than five minutes left, Bonino sent the puck behind the net to Cogliano, who made a pretty feed to a pinching Beauchemin for the one-timer and his second of the game.
Four minutes later, Blake got his fourth goal in the last three games on a nice tic-tac-toe play on the rush by that unit. Cogliano fed from the right wing across to Bonino, who laid it in front to a charging Blake for the chip-in from point blank.
"Blakey drove the middle and I didn’t even really see the pass," Bonino said. "I was kind of screened. It was an unbelievable pass. It landed right on my stick. I just felt it, looked down and it was right there. I figured Blakey would be there back door, he gave a call, it found its way through and got in."
Anaheim gave itself a serious cushion three minutes into the third, as George Parros hit Matt Beleskey in the right wing circle, and Beleskey whipped a wrist shot past Smith stick side.
The Ducks really slammed the door with under four minutes to go on the penalty kill, as Beauchemin, flipped the puck out of the zone to a sprinting Perry, who buried a wrist shot on the breakaway.
Despite the lopsided victory, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't all smiles afterward. "I thought we were pretty sloppy," he said. "I was biting my tongue most of the night. They missed a lot of chances. We took advantage.
"I thought we were a little loose, but I’m not complaining. We still won over a good hockey club and we scored six goals."
Anaheim will look to keep it going with a rare home back-to-back on the weekend, starting Saturday afternoon against Ottawa and Sunday evening against Colorado.
Anaheim has earned points in seven consecutive games (6-0-1), the longest standings point streak since Nov. 3-14, 2010 (also 6-0-1).
The Ducks have won four straight games at HOME, their longest such streak since Feb. 25 – Mar. 4, 2011 (3-0-1).
The club has scored 32 goals in the month of January, tied for the highest goals-per-game (4) output in the NHL (also Boston with four goals-per-game in January).
In addition, the Ducks have exploded for 22 goals over the last four contests at HOME, averaging 5.5 goals-per-game during that stretch.
Tonight, Francois Beauchemin scored a career-tying two goals (third time, last: Mar. 14, 2007 vs. Columbus) and a career-tying 1-2=3 points (fourth time, last: Oct. 6, 2007 at Pittsburgh, 1-2=3). Beauchemin has picked up 2-5=7 points in the last six games. He is currently on pace for 33 points this season, his highest output since a career-high 36 points in 2005-06 with Columbus and Anaheim. In addition, Beauchemin has registered a team-high +10 rating during the club’s seven-game standings point streak.
In his last six appearances (4-0-1, one ND), Jonas Hiller has stopped 123-of-131 shots for a .939 SV% and a 1.50 GAA (8 GA/321 MIN).
Corey Perry scored his sixth career shorthanded goal tonight, moving into a share of fourth on the club’s all-time SHG list (also Rucchin and Sacco). Over the last seven games, Perry has picked up 6-2=8 points with a +4 rating.
Jason Blake has earned 4-1=5 points with a +4 rating over the last three games and 4-4=8 points over the last seven games.
Andrew Cogliano picked up his first multi-assist game of the season (0-2=2) and first since Apr. 2, 2011 with Edmonton at Vancouver (also 0-2=2). Over the last six games, Cogliano has picked up 1-4=5 points.
With an assist in tonight’s contest, Teemu Selanne has moved into a share of 44th in all-time assists (732, also Rod Brind’Amour). His 652-732=1,384 all-time points sit just seven points shy of tying Brett Hull for 21st in all-time points. Selanne continues to lead the club in scoring with 15-29=44 points in 45 games, and has earned 4-4=8 points with a +6 rating over the last seven games.
Tonight marked Nick Bonino’s first career multi-point game (0-2=2 tonight). Bonino has earned 1-2=3 points in the last two games.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks in their sixth in the last seven.
19:30 - Crowd gets on its feet as we hit the 30-second mark.
16:23 - ANAHEIM GOAL (SHORTHANDED) - COREY PERRY -Beauchemin chips the puck out of the Anaheim end to a streaking Perry, who has nothing but room on the breakaway to whip a wrist shot past Smith's glove. It's 6-2 Ducks on the second shorty of the year for Anaheim.
15:22 - Beleskey looks for another with a shot from the slot he doesn't get all of.
13:50 - That 41-year-old in black is surprisingly fast.
10:20 - Smith still in there after the stoppage.
9:40 - Smith looks to be in some pain after taking a Perry shot off the shoulder. He's struggling.
9:00 - Just like in the first, the puck gets behind Hiller in the crease, but it's swept out of harm's way by Brookbank. Huge play.
8:20 - Beauchemin dives on his belly to knock down a Langkow pass in front.
7:09 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry, 2 min. tripping. Perry takes down a Coyote behind the net.
6:25 - Ryan tries for a little dipsy-doodle after a great Perry stretch pass, but Ekman-Larsson shuts it down.
5:30 - Hiller stops Pyatt.
4:33 - Hiller slides out to make a nice stop on a Langkov backhand.
3:09 - ANAHEIM GOAL - MATT BELESKEY - The Ducks make a serious statement on how this third period is going to go, as Parros hugs the right wing wall and feeds Beleskey, who whips as shot from the circle past Smith on the stick side. It's the second of the year for Beleskey and the Ducks take a three-shot lead. IT'S HOOTERS TIME!!
2:15 - Third line continues to cook, as Cogliano fires just wide on the break.
0:00 - Off and running in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks get goals from Blake and Beauchemin in the last five minutes or so to take a 4-2 lead.
18:54 - ANAHEIM GOAL - JASON BLAKE - Blake gets his fourth in the last three games on some beautiful passing by the third line. Cogliano feeds from the right wing across to Bonino, who lays it in front to a charging Blake for the punch-in from point blank. It's 4-2 Ducks.
18:37 - Hiller gets the Ducks a much-needed stoppage, snatching a Pyatt shot out of the air.
18:15 - Ducks having a little trouble keeping control of the puck the last few minutes.
14:51 - ANAHEIM GOAL - FRANCOIS BEAUCHEMIN - Bonino chases the puck down after tripping in front of the net, then sends it around the back of the net to Cogliano. He makes a quick feed to a pinching Beauchemin, who punches it in for his second of the game. It's 3-2 Ducks.
14:45 - Bonino is taken down in front of the net, but no call.
12:41 - Referee Kozari commits interference on Perry, keeping him from chasing down the puck and leaving the Ducks with an icing call. They take timeout before the faceoff. No instruction from Boudreau, just a rest as this unit has to stay one following the icing.
12:00 - Perry with a sharp angle shot that flies past Smith parallel to the net.
9:32 - PHOENIX GOAL - DAYMOND LANGKOW - Racing down the right wing, Whitney hits the skids and loses a sliding Visnovsky, then feeds Langkow for the wide open slot shot and goal. Hiller didn't have a chance, and it's 2-2.
6:50 - Goalie Smith nearly gets an assist, as he makes a long stretch pass to Doan, who feeds Torres, but Hiller says no.
5:20 - Ryan runs so hard into Gordon that he snaps Gordon's stick in half.
1:20 - Getzlaf with a feed in front to Blake, who goes to the backhand, but is stoned by Smith. He's made a couple big ones tonight.
0:59 - Kill, Ducks.
0:00 - Here we go in the second, Phoenix on the PP.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Coyotes open the scoring, but the Ducks come back with two to lead it 2-1. Yotes will have :59 of power play time when we come back.
19:55 - Vrbata rifles a one-timer that beats Hiller, but he's bailed out by the inside of the right post.
18:59 - ANA Penalty - 2 min. too many men on the ice. Bad change leaves the Ducks with 14 skates on the ice.
16:49 - Blake back out for the next shift as we hit the TV timeout.
16:30 - Beleskey back out there. Blake not yet.
15:43 - ANAHEIM GOAL - FRANCOIS BEAUCHEMIN - A still-active Visnovsky fires a second straight slap shot, which kicks hard off the leg of Jason Blake to Beauchemin, who one-times it past Smith. Blake get the assist but is shaken up on the play, as trainer Tim Clark comes out. He appears to be okay though. We'll see. It's 2-1 Ducks.
15:20 - Visnovsky's shot is tipped just wide. Had Smith beat.
14:05 - PHX Penalty - Shane Doan, 2 min. holding. Doan gets tangled with Visnovsky and drags him down.
13:49 - ANAHEIM GOAL - NIKLAS HAGMAN - Selanne wins the draw clean back to Visnovsky, who one-times it through a crowd and it's tipped under Smith by a crossing Hagman. It's 1-1.
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12:00 - Beleskey has apparently gone to the room with a hand injury after blocking a shot.
10:55 - Perry gets a look from the slot, but fires wide.
8:33 - PHOENIX GOAL - KYLE CHIPCHURA - Seconds after the Ducks are narrowly denied, Torres runs down a rebound, spins and fires off Hiller, who gives up another rebound that Chipchura slaps past the diving goalie. It's the first of the year for the former Duck and it's 1-0.
8:10 - Selanne feeds Hagman, who crashes in but can't push it through, as he's in a little too tight.
6:39 - Beauchemin clears the puck off the wall, and it's heading for icing, but comes awfully close to the post and Smith watches it glide by.
To honor the Michael Jackson Cirque de Soleil show coming to Honda Center later this month, we have a Moonwalker Challenge contest between two women dancing to Billy Jean. Neither is overly impressive, but the older Hispanic woman in the jogging suit takes it by fan applause.
5:45 - Beleskey blocks a shot and races out alone on a breakaway, but Smith denies his quick wrister from between the circles.
4:50 - Red-hot Blake spins and fires off Smith.
3:50 - Hiller with three saves in three seconds.
3:14 - Ducks escape disaster as the puck gets behind hiller right in front of the stripe, but Sbisa leans hard enough on Boedker to drive him into the net, but makes sure the puck doesn't go with him. Huge play by the kiddo, as he swept it out oft the crease. Referee Steve Kozari goes over for replay review, but the call of no goal stands.
2:11 - Ekman-Larsson's shot from right on the blue line is stopped and then smothered by Hiller.
1:02 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu, 2 min. high sticking. Ducks take one early as Koivu gets Whitney coming across the blue line.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
The Ducks are joined by the players in the inaugural Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League All-Star Game as Dawn Wright belts the anthem.