PREVIEW: Unbeaten Ducks, off to best start in franchise history, host Coyotes (6:30p, Prime Ticket)
Injuries and rehabilitations have forced the Anaheim Ducks to insert several rookies into their lineup during the first week of the season, but they’re off to one of their best starts in franchise history heading into their fourth game Wednesday night against the visiting Arizona Coyotes at Honda Center.
The Ducks (3-0-0) have already defeated the Coyotes this season, getting outshot 41-20 in Phoenix on Saturday night but holding on for a 1-0 victory behind exceptional play from goaltender John Gibson, who has saved 91 of 95 shots this season (.958).
“He’s been our MVP for the three games,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said after Gibson made 19 saves in a 3-2 shootout win over the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Monday night. “You don’t have a starting point in the NHL if you don’t have goaltending.”
The Arizona Coyotes come to town as we take on our division foe for the second time in four days. #LetsGoDucks
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 10, 2018
The Coyotes (0-2-0) are still looking for their first goal of the season after losing 3-0 at the Dallas Stars in their season opener on Thursday and then getting blanked by Anaheim.
Arizona coach Rick Tocchet told reporters after practice Tuesday that his team needs to quit taking shortcuts during practice. He cited an example of players not following up their shots and pursuing rebounds.
“As a player, when you do drills, finish the drill,” he said. “If you do the right things, good things will happen. I’m a big believer, if you’re taking shortcuts, then it’s hard to get out of a slump.”
Max Comtois is one of the five rookie forwards that the Ducks started against the Red Wings on Monday. He had an assist to give him a point in each of his first three NHL games.
The only other rookie in franchise history to accomplish that feat was Corey Perry in 2005-06.
“This is baptism by fire for young players,” Carlyle said. “We have our ample share of them in the lineup, but these are situations, hopefully, where they can grow and get more confidence.
“Hats off to them. We put them in situations, historically, they would play in lower levels. This is the best league in the world. They were in there and survived, so hopefully they feel good about themselves.”
Jakob Silfverberg is also off to a hot start for the Ducks. He has five points (one goal, four assists), becoming the first Anaheim player with five points in the first three games since Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler in 2014.