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Coyotes Blank Mighty Ducks

It's been rare these days for Nikolai Khabibulin to feel good about his goaltending.

Saturday night was one of those times after he made 27 saves to lead Phoenix to a 1-0 victory over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Khabibulin has battled through injuries and losses over the last month.

"I didn't have a good game in a while so it's good to have a good game so I can start feeling better about myself," said Khabibulin, who recorded his seventh shutout of the season and 20th of his career. "Any good game and a win would be nice right now."

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The Coyotes' third victory in their last four games allowed them to open a four-point lead over the Ducks for fourth place in the Western Conference. Phoenix had been winless in its first four meetings against Anaheim this season (0-2-2).

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Game summary

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  • The 1-0 victory was the Coyotes' 11th since they joined the NHL in 1979-80, their seventh in regulation, and their second of the season. Khabibulin and Phoenix beat Dominik Hasek and the Buffalo Sabres 1-0 on Jan. 11.

    Guy Hebert made 21 saves for the Mighty Ducks, who are winless in their last three games. Anaheim has been held scoreless over its last eight periods, including an overtime tie against Vancouver on Wednesday.

    "This was the kind of game you're going to see in the playoffs," Ruslan Salei said. "Nobody wanted to give up any goals. I got a few chances to shoot but they blocked all of the shots."

    Stapleton gained a measure of revenge for the 26 stitches needed to close a gash under his eye when he was slashed by Salei in the teams' last meeting Feb. 14.

    Stapleton took one stride into the Mighty Ducks' zone and blasted a shot over Hebert's blocker for his sixth goal of the season.

    "That's in the past," Stapleton said of his previous run-in with Salei. "More important to us is we got the win and we played well. It felt like our energy was high and we wanted to te little things to win."

    Coyotes coach Jim Schoenfeld's feelings about the win remained unknown. He left the arena following the game without talking to either his team or the media.

    The Ducks' league-leading power-play unit was held scoreless on six chances, its second consecutive scoreless game. Anaheim's power play, which has scored at least one goal in 49 of the Ducks' 67 games, has not scored in its last 12 chances.

    Khabibulin stopped the Ducks' top scorers, Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya, in the third period.

    Khabibulin smothered a short wrist shot by Selanne midway through the period and added glove saves on both players in the final two minutes to preserve his first shutout since Feb. 10.

    "We didn't battle that much in the first half of the game," Anaheim coach Craig Hartsburg said. "The second half we started to take the game over but their goaltender was outstanding."

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