By Michael Walters
After an exciting come from behind victory over the Calgary Flames, the Anaheim Ducks had a chance to gain more ground in the Pacific Division against Arizona. The Ducks got down early against the Coyotes and tried to rally, but couldn’t tie the game, losing 4-2.
Just over three minutes into the game, the Coyotes would strike first. The Ducks failed to clear the zone and the puck came to Michael Stone, who ripped a point shot past a screened John Gibson. Later in the period Shawn Horcoff would get called for hooking, but the Ducks killed the penalty. The Ducks outshot the Coyotes 10 to 6, but trailed 1-0.
Just under four minutes in, Horcoff would get called again for a penalty, this time for cross checking. Antoine Vermette would get to a loose rebound in front and slide the puck past Gibson’s leg pad making it 2-0 Arizona. Things started to get chippy in this period as Klas Dahlbeck was called tripping and later Ryan Getzlaf was called for roughing. Tobias Rieder did get a late penalty that would carry over for the Ducks to start the 3rd. Despite the power plays, there was no more scoring in this period. Arizona lead 2-0.
The Ducks got on the board during the power play when a slap shot by Sami Vatanen would hit Ryan Kesler‘s butt and defect past Mike Smith. The Ducks were within one goal, but Anthony Duclair would score just over a minute later to increase the Coyotes lead back to two goals at 3-1. The Ducks would counter again on the power play. Vatanen would get the puck, blow by a Coyote player and put it in past Smith. The Ducks trailed 3-2 and fought to try to tie the game and eventually pulled Gibson. Vermette would get an empty net goal to give Arizona a 4-2 victory.
Key Moment of the Game:
When Duclair scored just over a minute later after Kesler’s goal. The goal put the Coyotes up 3-1 at that point and they never looked back. Duclair has been a Duck killer, scoring five goals in three games against the Ducks.
Key Stat of the Game:
The Ducks committed 11 turnovers to just three by the Coyotes. The Coyotes built a 2-0 lead and both goals were a result of turnovers by the Ducks. Puck handling and/or passing has been a major issue for the Ducks this season.
The Ducks power play was 2 for 3. Over the last two games it has been 4 for 5. The Ducks power play has been picking it up since the early slump.
Fowler registered an assist, bringing his total to 127. He is second on the Ducks all-time list as he moved past Francois Beauchemin.
The Ducks next face Chicago on Friday at Honda Center. Game starts at 2pm.