Phoenix Coyotes right wing Radim Vrbata has 10 goals and five assists in his last 12 games, and five goals in the past three games. Two of those goals came against the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night at Jobing.com Arena in the Coyotes' 4-2 win in NHL action on Thanksgiving Eve.
The Coyotes were coming off a five-game road trip in which they went 3-2, and with the win improved to 11-6-3 on the season -- just a point out of first place in the Pacific Division.
The Ducks came to Glendale winners of just one game in their last 10 and sank further into last place in the Pacific. They took a 1-0 lead when Saku Koivo tipped in a pass 5:44 into the game.
The Coyotes got two big saves from goaltender Mike Smith around the 9:51 mark of the period, Smith stopping close-range drives from Ben Maxwell and George Parros. About three minutes later Keith Yandle and Shane Doan engineered a good give-and-go play with Yandle taking the shot that beat Anaheim's Jonas Hiller to tie it at 1.
Vrbata's first goal was his 10th of the season and came at 16:50 of the second period. He sent in a backhand pass from Martin Hanzal with the Coyotes on a power play.
The Ducks self-destructed with too many penalties and power plays allowed. Phoenix ended the game on a power play because of two late two-minute penalties, one to Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.
Smith was called for diving after a Ducks player bumped him in the second period and the result was a two-minute penalty for each team.
During another power play, Anaheim's Corey Perry got loose on a shorthanded breakaway, but Smith saved the shot from Perry.
Phoenix had 21 shots on goal to eight for the Ducks after two periods and led 3-1 after another Vrbata goal late in the period.
Oliver Ekman-Larrson, a defenseman, scored the final Coyotes' goal of the night at 4:27 of the third. His shot deflected off the skates of two Ducks players in front of the net and got past Hiller.
Yandle, an assistant captain and defenseman who has been in search of consistency all season, played confidently and had what he said was his best overall game of the season.