The Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes are in the midst of three consecutive games in five days. This rarely happens in the NHL and some have likened it to a "mini-playoff" series. If these were the playoffs, the only question is how the games would end.

Since this is the regular season, 65 minutes of back-and-forth hockey on Saturday and Monday were resolved in a shootout.

Both times, the Coyotes prevailed 5-4.

After the Ducks' latest loss, a game in which the Coyotes never ran out of counterpunches to the offensive-minded Ducks, head coach Bruce Boudreau was left wondering when the back-and-forth will cease.

"Even though we do a lot of preaching on defense," he said, "we have to get back to the basics."

Oliver Ekman-Larsson's goal in the fifth round of the shootout served as the game-winner. Bobby Ryan's forehand met the pads of Mike Smith on the other end to seal the Ducks' fate.

Ryan Getzlaf had a brilliant game for the Ducks - "our best player by a country mile," in Boudreau's words - recording a goal, two assists and blocking a hard shot in the third period. Goalie Jonas Hiller had moments of brilliance, too, like when he stopped Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle one-on-one with 1:23 left in overtime.

Like many of his teammates, however, Hiller was also prone to lapses of disappearance. He faced 40 shots and stopped 36. Of the four he allowed, "two were knuckle-pucks," he said.