Duclair’s hat trick leads Coyotes over Ducks 4-0
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – The Arizona Coyotes traded one of their most popular and enduring players to get Anthony Duclair, whose first season with them is getting off to a rollicking start.
Duclair scored the game’s first two goals en route to his first career hat trick, leading the Coyotes to a 4-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.
”He had a solid training camp, but the great thing about him is that he’s gotten better and better,” coach Dave Tippett said. ”For young guys, there’s lots to learn in camp and lots to take in, and I give really give him credit. His biggest strengths are speed and skill. And on all of his goals tonight, he shot the puck quick.”
Duclair, who had only one goal in 20 previous NHL games, completed his hat trick on a short wrist shot with 9:03 left in the second period. The 20-year-old left wing was acquired last March in a multiplayer deal that sent defenseman Keith Yandle to the New York Rangers.
”Getting traded was a bit of a shock,” Duclair said. ”When you’re a young guy and sort of a prospect, you don’t expect to get traded. I guess that comes with the business of hockey, but after that I was excited. I talked to (general manager) Don Maloney, and came to the rookie camp and just felt a great vibe here.
”Obviously, getting traded for a guy like Keith obviously comes with some pressure,” Duclair added. ”But by no means am I trying to replace him. I just come to the rink and work as hard as I can every day. We have a special group in this locker room, and that it that much more fun.”
Mike Smith made 37 saves for his 28th career shutout, rookie Max Domi had a goal and an assist and Martin Hanzal had three assists for the Coyotes, who are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2003-04. Last season they lost 50 games for the only time since the franchise relocated from Winnipeg to Arizona for the 1996-97 campaign.
”We’ve got a good balance of speed and skill, we’re scoring some goals, we’re defending hard and playing the right way. And it’s paying off for us,” Tippett said.
Smith, whose shutout was his first since March 4, 2014, has stopped 104 of the 106 shots he’s faced in his first three starts. The 10-year veteran had a league-worst 42 losses last season while giving up a league-worst 147 goals and finishing with a 9.04 save percentage.
The Ducks, who have won three straight Pacific Division titles and finished with the best record in the Western Conference in each of the past two seasons, are winless in their first three games following a 2-0 defeat at San Jose and a 2-1 shootout loss at Vancouver in the home opener.
The Ducks had gone 8-0-2 against the Coyotes since a 5-3 loss in the 2012-13 regular-season finale.
”We didn’t win the battles,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. ”When you go into the corners and you don’t come up with the puck, it’s because the will of the other team is greater than your will. And we’re not used to that being the case. So it’s back to the drawing board and seeing why those things aren’t working.”
Anton Khudobin, playing for his fourth NHL team in seven seasons, made his Ducks debut and gave up three goals on eight shots. He was replaced by Frederik Andersen following Domi’s goal at 12:53 of the opening period.
The Coyotes’ began their early barrage when Hanzal won a faceoff deep in the Anaheim zone and Duclair beat Khudobin with a 35-foot shot from the slot at 3:16 of the first.
”We want to play fast and physical, especially in a road game. That was the key early on tonight,” Duclair said. ”I give credit to my linemates and the rest of my teammates for doing a good job of making some space for me and making it much easier.”
Ducks forward Carl Hagelin was sent off for slashing Oliver Ekman-Larsson at 10:04 of the period, and Duclair poked the puck under Khudobin’s leg during the ensuing power play.
Domi, the 12th overall pick in the 2013 draft, made it 3-0 about three minutes later. He beat Khudobin high to the glove side with a 25-foot backhander after getting a drop pass from Mikkel Boedker.
NOTES: Andersen stopped Domi on a breakaway at 7:27 of the second period and finished with 20 saves. . Bobby Francis coached the Coyotes to their last 3-0 start, but they were winless in their next nine games and won only 17 more games before Francis was fired with 20 games left on the 03-04 schedule. … Anaheim D Clayton Stoner was scratched because of a lower body injury. . Ducks D Kevin Bieksa played in his 600th regular-season game.