ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Radim Vrbata had three goals, capping his hat trick with a short-handed score, and Jason LaBarbera made 22 of his 43 saves in the first period to lead the Phoenix Coyotes to a 5-3 victory over the playoff-bound Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.
The Coyotes finished 21-18-9, four points out of a playoff spot after winning their first division title in franchise history and going to the Western conference finals last season. This is the first time the Coyotes will miss the postseason since 2009, and only the second time for Dave Tippett in his 10 seasons as an NHL head coach.
Teemu Selanne, Bobby Ryan and defensemen Francois Beauchemin scored for the Ducks, who replaced Phoenix as Pacific Division champions in the lockout-shortened 48-game season. They finished with the NHL’s third-best record behind Chicago and Pittsburgh (30-12-6) and had only four fewer wins than they had last season — when the schedule was the normal 82 games.
As the second seed in the West, Anaheim will meet seventh-seeded Detroit in the opening round of the playoffs. It will be the sixth time the teams will face each other in the postseason.
The Coyotes twice squandered one-goal leads before Anaheim goalie Victor Fasth left a bad rebound on a 40-foot wrist shot by Doan and Vrbata scored into a wide-open net at 6:46 of the second period to cap his third multigoal game of the season. His third of the game and 12th of the season came with 12:17 remaining while teammate Antoine Vermette was serving an interference penalty.
Vermette then scored into an empty net with 2 seconds to play.
Vrbata opened the scoring at 8:14 of the first, one-timing a pass from behind the net from captain Shane Doan. Selanne tied it about two minutes later with his 12th goal and No. 675 for his career, getting a return pass at the right of the crease from Patrick Maroon after the rookie made a 360-degree spin move to set up the 20-year veteran from the left circle.
Kyle Chipchura put Phoenix ahead 2-1 at 17:36 of the first with a 15-foot wrist shot from the left of the net that trickled through the pads of Fasth.
But teammate Lauri Korpikoski was sent off for tripping Ryan in the final minute of the period and the Ducks cashed in on the power play 14 seconds after intermission. Beauchemin used teammate Corey Perry as a screen and beat LaBarbera through the pads with a slap shot from the right point.
Phoenix was eliminated from the playoffs with a 4-0 loss at Detroit on Monday, and it remains to be seen if the team will remain in the desert. The franchise has been run by the NHL the past three seasons after the previous owner took the team into bankruptcy in an attempt to move the team to Hamilton, Ontario.
NOTES: It was Vrbata’s fourth career hat trick and first since 2008. … Keith Yandle had two assists for Phoenix and finished with a team-high 30 points. He is one of two defensemen to lead their respective teams in scoring this season, along with Nashville’s Shea Weber (27). … The Ducks were 16-7-1 at home, including a franchise-record 13 straight victories. … Doan, who signed a four-year, $21.2 million contract extension just before the lockout, finished with 13 goals and 14 assists and didn’t miss a game. … This will be only the second time that the Ducks and Kings will be in the playoffs in the same season since the league expanded to Anaheim in 1993-94. … The only Anaheim players to appear in every game were Beauchemin, Andrew Cogliano and Daniel Winnik. Cogliano, whose 458-game playing streak is the third-longest among active players, is the Ducks’ nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.