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Smith, Whitney lead Coyotes' 4-0 rout of Anaheim

Saturday - 3/31/2012, 11:52pm  ET

By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Mike Smith had 44 saves in his second straight shutout and Ray Whitney passed 1,000 career points with a goal and assist in the Phoenix Coyotes' 4-0 rout of the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Antoine Vermette and Radim Vrbata also scored for the Coyotes, who with three games to play are tied with Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles in points with 91 but the Kings own the tiebreaker.

Three of Phoenix's goals came on power plays, all in the second period, for a team that ranks last in the NHL in that category.

Whitney's assist on Vrbata's goal made him the 79th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 points. Forty seconds later, Whitney scored his 24th goal of the season.

Jeff Deslauriers, in his third start of the season for Anaheim, had 29 saves.

The Coyotes killed six penalties.

Smith, honored as the team's MVP before the game, earned his seventh shutout of the season, fourth-best in the NHL.

Smith, who had 15 first-period saves _ 38 overall _ in Phoenix's 2-0 win over San Jose two nights earlier, was even better against the Ducks, stopping 21 shots as Anaheim outshot the Coyotes 21-7 in the opening period.

But Phoenix led, thanks to Ekman-Larsson's timely exit from the penalty box. The Coyotes had just killed the penalty when, after a faceoff at the Phoenix end, Mikkel Boedker got the puck and passed it to Ekman-Larsson. The 20-year-old defenseman broke free and tapped a backhander past Deslauriers, giving the Coyotes a 1-0 lead with 13:50 left in the period.

The goal came 7 seconds after the first of Phoenix's two first-period penalty kills. The Coyotes killed another penalty in the second period, then scored on a power play to go up 2-0.

With Anaheim's Saku Koivu in the penalty box for tripping, Vermette deflected Derek Morris' slap shot into the net with 8:57 left in the period.

The Coyotes made it a rout after the Ducks' Corey Perry locked up with Gilbert Brule in a fight. Perry got an extra 2 minutes for instigating the fisticuffs. Anaheim had 21 seconds left in a penalty for having too many men on the ice, giving Phoenix a two-man advantage. Sixteen seconds later, Vrbata scored his team-high 33rd goal on an assist from Whitney to make it 3-0.

Whitney, a 39-year-old left wing in his 19th NHL season, drew a standing ovation from the crowd. When play resumed, with Phoenix's advantage down to one man, Whitney quickly scored and it was 4-0 with 3:06 left in the second period.

Phoenix has three games to play, beginning with their final regular-season home game Tuesday night against Columbus. They finish the season at St. Louis and Minnesota.

Notes: Whitney has 47 points in 45 career games against Anaheim. ... The Ducks had beaten Phoenix three times in a row entering Saturday night's game. ... Deslauriers was recalled from Syracuse of the AHL on Feb. 14. He won his two earlier starts for the Ducks this season. ... Phoenix, statistically the worst power-play team in the league, has scored on four in the past two games.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)