By Lance Pugmire
10:26 PM PST, January 11, 2014
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jonas Hiller needed 28 saves to win his 13th consecutive game Saturday, but his night was decided by watching his team strike for three goals in a 5-minute 10-second span during the second period.
"When the guys score four, five goals every night, it's not too tough to win as a goalie," Hiller said.
By beating the Phoenix Coyotes, 5-3, at Jobing.com Arena to sweep the five-game season series against their division rival, the Ducks extended their team record of scoring four or more goals to six consecutive games, and improved their NHL-leading record to 34-8-5.
And as Hiller became one of eight goalies in NHL history to win 13 straight games, the Ducks became the seventh team ever to win 16 of 17.
"We're just sticking to . . . the game plan to get pucks deep and just skate," said 19-year-old Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who recorded his first two-goal game in the NHL. "We know we're a good team, so if we do the right thing, we know we're going to get a couple goals a game."
Center Ryan Getzlaf, a key contributor to that strategy with 23 goals and 30 assists this season, suffered an apparent leg injury when blocking a shot in the second period and didn't return to the bench in the third.
However, Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said an X-ray was negative, and that Getzlaf might have returned to play had the Ducks not led by the 5-1 margin they enjoyed at one point during the third.
"We said, 'Ice it, get ready for [Sunday],'" said Boudreau, whose team plays Detroit today in Anaheim.
Phoenix (21-14-9) managed just eight shots against Hiller in the second period, when the Ducks hammered Coyotes goalie Thomas Greiss into submission with the three-goal blitz to seize a 4-1 lead.
Greiss began unraveling when Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen slapped a blue-line shot that struck the goalie below the belly, the puck trickling softly underneath Greiss past the goal line.
Perhaps sensing the vulnerability, the Ducks intensified their pressure and forward Dustin Penner claimed his 300th career point by slamming in a shot in front of Greiss off assists from Corey Perry and Mathieu Perreault.
Perreault finished with three assists.
Less than two minutes later, Penner passed up a similar opening to slide the puck to Getzlaf, who faked a forehand shot to fool Greiss before beating him with a hard backhand.
Off the ice went Greiss, in came Mike Smith.
Hiller, also aided by defenseman Francois Beauchemin's team-record 11 blocks, admired the offensive support.
"In here, everybody goes out believing we can beat anybody in any stadium," Hiller said. "Those things come because you work hard. . . . We keep pushing, we forecheck, keep shooting, and at some point, things go in. It's hard to contain."
Hiller is four wins shy of tying Boston goalie Gilles Gilbert's record of 17 straight from Dec. 26, 1975, to Feb. 29, 1976. Hiller would tie four others for second place with one more victory.
"It's a great thing, but winning with the team is what I'm excited about," Hiller said.
Boudreau said Hiller will "probably" play Sunday.
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