This Pacific division contest started with the Arizona Coyotes sporting a 2-1-1 record thus far in the 2016-17 pre-season. The opponent is a familiar one, the Pacific Division champs from last season, the Anaheim Ducks.
The Coyotes defeated the Ducks 2-1 back on September 27th. In that game Chris Mueller and Henrik Samuelsson had tallies.
First period action
The starting lineup for the Coyotes was: Chris Mueller (C), Brendan Perlini (LW), Shane Doan (RW). The defense was: Jamie McBain and Alex Goligoski. Mike Smith got the start in goal.
The Ducks wasted no time scoring a goal early as they found the back of the net at the 5:44 mark on a goal by Michael Sgarbossa, assisted by Clayton Stoner. Smith really should have made a save on this play, but either didn't focus, or may have been screened by a Ducks player in front.
Earlier, Smith almost hit the puck into his own net when he wandered out (a bad habit of his) behind the cage to retrieve a puck, and was pressured. He's got to let his defensemen do their job.
The Coyotes came back with a power play tying tally at 11:17 when Anthony Duclair scored his first pre-season goal, assisted by his buddy Max Domi and new arrival Goligoski. Anaheim had a comeback of their own, when at 13:12, they took a 2-1 lead with a goal by Nick Sorensen, with Sgarbossa getting his second point, while Nick Ritchie also got an assist.
The Yotes had a power play opportunity when Korbinian Holzer was called for interference. The period ended with the Ducks holding their one-goal lead, and :42 left on the penalty kill.
Not much going in the second
The Coyotes' power play was lifeless as they could not muster much offense, going without a score. They had another chance at 4:46 when the Ducks were called for too many men on the ice. Again, the Anaheim penalty killers prevailed.
The period wasn't without fisticuffs, as Holzer took exception to a hit given out by Jamie McGinn and dropped the gloves. As is most of these affairs, there was more wrestling than fists connecting.
The Ducks dominated play in this stanza, out-shooting the Desert Dogs 14-7. The Ducks changed goalies at the 9:00 mark, but Smith stayed in goal for the home town Coyotes.
After a shaky start, Smith settled down and made some good stops, especially when he made a good save, and another on the rebound near the halfway point of the period.
Final period facts
Duclair missed an open net early in the third on a rebound from a Jakob Chychrun shot from the left point. Chychrun is a solid prospect who looks very comfortable out on the blue line. He moves the puck well, and moves in from the point when the opportunity presents itself.
The Coyotes again were giving up too many shots on net. After a losing effort in San Jose Friday night where they gave up 36 shots, they allowed over 30 shots on goal with nine minutes left in this game.
After a flurry of shots, and good puck possession, the Coyotes managed to tie the game at 11:24 with a rebound goal by Dylan Strome from a Kyle Wood shot on the right point. Doan also assisted on the goal.
At the end of regulation, the Coyotes and Ducks were tied 2-2.
The overtime period under this format leaves a ton of ice open for skaters to do their thing. And Laurent Dauphin had a breakaway at the 2:06 mark and was denied by the Ducks netminder, Jonathan Bernier.
And just a minute later Christian Dvorak broke in all by himself, and was slashed by former Coyotes Antione Vermette as he missed his chance to end the game. That gave the Yotes a man advantage which this time they used.
Captain Coyote to the rescue
Shane Doan had an opportunity in the third period to find the net, but was stuffed by Bernier. But he was not to be denied twice. The captain Shane Doan had enough of that and ended the game with a nice feed from Dvorak to sneak a wrist shot near the right post and by Bernier.
Doan had a goal and an assist, while Goligoski tallied two assists including on the game winning goal, and looked in command on the blue-line. He was an excellent acquisition by the team.
Three stars of game
The third star went to Dylan Strome.
The second star was Anthony Duclair.
The first star (is there any doubt) was Shane Doan.
All in all, the game was entertaining, and the Coyotes looked ready to play as they skated and passed with precision.
After the game, Head Coach/V.P. of hockey operations Dave Tippett was absent from his post game press conference because he had to make some cuts to the roster.