Phoenix Coyotes\' Ray Whitney (13) celebrates his goal against the Anaheim Ducks with teammates on the bench during the first period in an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
GLENDALE, Ariz. - Andrew Cogliano has made a point of shooting more in recent games.
With the luck he had against Phoenix, he might just start shooting on every touch.
Taking advantage of shaky goaltending, Cogliano had the second-fastest hat trick in Ducks history, scoring three goals in less than seven minutes to help Anaheim open the second half of the season with a 4-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night.
“Goals are goals, but it might have been the ugliest hat trick I’ve ever seen,”Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said.”I’m glad they went in.”
So is Cogliano.
With Phoenix getting the jump on the Ducks in the first period, Cogliano snatched away the momentum with a flurry of goals, notching his first career hat trick in 6:51 _ second only to Bobby Ryan’s three goals in 2:21 that spanned two periods in 2009.
Cogliano scored his first on a feed from Matt Beleskey after Phoenix goalie Mike Smith got caught behind the net. The second came on a tough-angle shot that squeezed under Smith’s armpit.
Once he got two in, Cogliano kept firing and finished the hat trick _ and Smith _ at 6:10 on another soft goal, flipping a backhander between the goalie’s pads for a 3-1 lead.
The fifth natural hat trick in team history, along with Jonas Hiller’s 24 saves and Teemu Selanne’s empty-net goal, gave Anaheim its ninth win in 11 games.
“I was just trying to shoot everything after that _ you never know,”Cogliano said of his mindset after the second goal.“I caught Smith off-guard with a couple shots. Those won’t go in every night, but for myself I need to shoot more. You can’t have a better example of that.”
The Coyotes got off to a great start, setting up Ray Whitney’s goal in the first period.
After Smith was pulled at the end of Cogliano’s goal spree, Phoenix had a chance to get back in it with a two-man advantage of nearly 90 seconds spanning the second and third periods.
The Coyotes failed to convert at the end of the second and had a second goal by Whitney waved off early in the third because Martin Hanzal was called for interfering with Hiller. That call, along with what they believe was a missed offside call on Anaheim’s third goal, left Coyotes coach Dave Tippett and his players furious.
“When both teams are amazed the call is being made, you wonder about it,”Tippett said.“There was no contact with the goalie whatsoever. Hanzal’s on the edge of the crease, no contact whatsoever. You could probably find five goals in the league like that that would be called goals, unfortunately that one got called back.”
Phoenix desperately needed the all-star break. Anaheim hoped the time off wouldn’t kill its momentum.
The Coyotes labored through the first half of the season, a string of injuries, long stints on the road, and an inability to finish, leaving them 12th in the Western Conference.
Phoenix players missed 84 games due to injury, including 18 by Smith and Hanzal, and had some brutal road trips, covering an estimated 28,000 miles in the six weeks before the break.
Tired and battered, the Coyotes struggled to score at key times, losing 10 straight one-goal games, eight times in overtime or shootouts, and ranking second-to-last in the NHL on the power play, converting 12.6 percent of their chances.
The Ducks followed a solid start to the season with a dismal stretch, losing 16 of 18 starting at the end of October, a stretch that led to the firing of coach Randy Carlyle.
Anaheim snapped up Boudreau, who had been fired by Washington two days earlier, and followed another bad stretch with one of the best runs of the season. Relying on superb special teams, a resurgent offence and steady goaltending, the Ducks closed the first half on an 8-1-1 spurt, second best in the NHL since Jan. 6.
Even with that, Anaheim entered the second half of the season 13th in the West, 12 points behind eighth-place Minnesota with 34 games left.
The Coyotes were the team with the spark early, just missing on a couple of chances before Whitney scored midway through the first period. Hanzal triggered the play by creating a turnover in Anaheim’s zone, and Radim Vrbata set up Whitney’s 16th of the season with a nice feed to the far post.
“The first period we didn’t play too well, we had a couple of turnovers,”Hiller said.“But we showed good reaction in the second and the third.”
They sure did.
Flying around the ice, the Ducks created several good chances early, and Cogliano got his first goal when Smith lingered too long behind the net. Cogliano got another to go in, and another just a few minutes after that to become the fourth Ducks player _ first since Vinny Prospal in 2004 _ to score three goals in a period.
Even after the hat trick, the Coyotes had chances to get back into it. But they failed on a 5-on-3 power play, missed on a few more good scoring chances in the third period and gave up an empty-net goal to Selanne with 1:06 left to open the second half of the season with a disappointing loss.
“We had control of the game and we let it get away,”Coyotes captain Shane Doan said.“We never capitalized on our opportunities.”
NOTES: Beleskey had an assist after missing three games with a hand injury. ... Coyotes C Daymond Langkow left midway through the first after being struck in the face with a stick, but returned later in the period with gauze in his nose and a bandage on it. ... Anaheim has killed 38 of 42 penalties in 16 games, including all three Phoenix advantages.