Arizona Coyotes jump out to fast start in win over Anaheim Ducks

By Craig Morgan, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 21, 2017 at 6:36 AM
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A reporter asked Arizona coach Dave Tippett recently if he was concerned about his young team's ability to focus with the NHL trade deadline approaching and several Coyotes being mentioned in trade rumors.

"I won't be able to answer that question until we're in the middle of it," Tippett said.

For one night, the Coyotes showed no ill effects.

A few hours after Arizona traded defenseman Michael Stone to the Calgary Flames, the Coyotes jumped all over the Anaheim Ducks, scoring three-first period goals and hanging on for a 3-2 win on Monday at Gila River Arena.

Christian Dvorak, Jakob Chychrun and Radim Vrbata scored for the Coyotes, who improved to 8-4-1 in their past 13 games.

"We all love Stony and we're all going to miss him," Dvorak said, "but it's also a business, and we understand that."

Coyotes goalie Mike Smith made 27 saves but left the game with 15:31 left in the third period after he appeared to take a shot to the head from Anaheim's Jakob Silfverberg about a minute and a half earlier. The collision knocked off Smith's mask.

"He got bumped and (trainer) Jason Serbus came down a couple minutes later and said that they were just radioing from I think Toronto, the concussion spotter, that Mike had to come out," Tippett said. "Mike didn't want to come out. ... He's fine. It all checks out. He was probably ready to come back with a minute or two left, but it was too late."

Rookie Marek Langhamer replaced Smith, marking his first NHL action. Langhamer stopped defenseman Sami Vatanen on a rebound chance with one second left. Langhamer saved seven of the eight shots he faced.

"Obviously it was tough to jump right into it," Langhamer said. "But our guys played a great game in front of me and didn't let them come to the O-zone."

Ryan Getzlaf had a pair of goals for Anaheim, including one on a slap shot through traffic with 26.8 seconds left and the goalie pulled.

The Ducks (31-20-10) missed a chance to jump ahead of the Edmonton Oilers into second place in the Pacific Division.

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle did not blame goalie Jonathan Bernier, who was making his first start in three weeks but was pulled after the first period, having allowed three goals on six shots. John Gibson made 14 saves in relief of Bernier.

"Out of the three goals, what chance does (Bernier) have when on the first two, our player got beat up the ice?" Carlyle said. "The next one goes in off our defenseman in front. You've got to do those things like pull the goalie to try and stimulate your team, but it's unfortunate that it looks bad on him. I think you have to lay this one on his teammates."

Arizona (21-30-7) grabbed an early lead when Dvorak took a pass from captain Shane Doan, deked to his backhand and slid the puck past Bernier at 2:02 of the first period for his 10th goal of the season. With the assist, Doan recorded his 18th consecutive season of at least 20 points.

Chychrun widened the lead to 2-0 at 4:46 of the first period when he pinched in from the point on the weak side and one-timed a cross-ice feed from Ryan White past Bernier. It was Chychrun's fourth goal of the season.

Vrbata scored his 12th goal of the season to make it 3-0 at 14:40 of the first period. Vrbata's shot appeared to deflect in off Vatanen's skate. Vrbata extended his point streak to six games (1-5-6), which is the longest active point streak in the NHL.

"We weren't sharp," Carlyle said. "We gave ourselves the chance with the late goal, but we had opportunities and just didn't create enough offense."

Anaheim got its first goal at 12:26 of the second period when defenseman Josh Manson's slap shot from the point deflected off Getzlaf and past Smith to cut the deficit to 3-1.

NOTES:

-- The Coyotes traded D Michael Stone to Calgary for a third-round draft choice in 2017 and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2018. The fifth-round pick is conditional upon the Flames re-signing Stone. Arizona will retain half of Stone's pro-rated salary ($544,444). "It's a player I know well here and he fit with us," said Flames GM Brad Treliving, who was previously Arizona's assistant GM.

-- Coyotes G Louis Domingue (lower body) and LW Lawson Crouse (lower body) are day-to-day. C Brad Richardson (broken right tibia and fibula) remains on injured reserve but has resumed skating.

-- Ducks C Antoine Vermette served the third game of his 10-game suspension for abuse of an official on Tuesday.

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