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The Wrap: Milestones Met in Anaheim

Brassard notches first career hat trick, Kessel assist No. 500, Chychrun point No. 100

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes
Final Score: Coyotes 5, Ducks 1
Record: 13-13-5
Standings: 5th-place, West Division

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One milestone.

Two milestones.

Three milestones.

And a 5-1 win, to boot. The Coyotes finished their road trip with a commanding victory over the Anaheim Ducks, Saturday night at Honda Center.

Phil Kessel registered his assist No. 500. Jakob Chychrun recorded point No. 100. And Derick Brassard netted his first, regular-season hat trick.

"It's a special night," Brassard said. "I'm just happy that we won the game because the last few days have been tough for our team, just being at the hotel waiting, not winning any games. I was just at the right place at the right time tonight. We were ready to play, we had a plan and we executed. Hopefully it's going to give us some confidence."

Chychrun's 100-point milestone was first on the docket. He assisted Brassard's opening goal three minutes into the game to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead. Chychrun doubled the Coyotes' lead minutes later, scoring his eighth goal and eclipsing his career 100-point total.

Next up, Kessel etched his name into an esteemed club when he picked up assist No. 500, setting up Brassard's second goal of the night late in the first period, a power play goal which completed a three-goal first period. 

Brassard left the celebration early to seek and save the puck for Kessel.

"Playing in this league is hard, and Phil has been a really good player for many years," Brassard said. "Five hundred assists is a lot and everyone's really happy for him. I remember last game we were playing on the same line and he told us his next assist was No. 500 in his career. As soon as I scored, my first reaction was, 'Oh, Phil just reached 500.'"

The Coyotes chased Ducks goalie Ryan Miller from the game after the first period. Anthony Stolarz opened the second period for Anaheim.

Brassard completed his hat trick, less than a minute into that period, giving the Coyotes a 4-0 lead. He beat Stolarz on the first Coyotes' shot, a slapper from the left circle. 

(Brassard scored a postseason hat trick as a member of the New York Rangers on May 26, 2015, a 7-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.)

Clayton Keller scored his team-leading tenth goal of the season to increase the Coyotes' lead to 5-0 in the third period.

Anaheim scored its lone goal with 5:33 remaining.

Kessel did not know he was on the cusp of a milestone until the previous game, when he was informed by one of the trainers.

"(500 assists) means I've played with a lot of good players in my career," Kessel said. "I've been fortunate, and it's a nice achievement."

As for his teammates' achievements, Kessel was unaware of one, but not surprised by either.

"I didn't know (Chychrun) hit 100," Kessel said. "That's great for him. I'm sure he can get a lot more points in his career. (Brassard) -- he played well. You saw him buzzing out there. Those are big goals (he scored) to get us going."

Antti Raanta made 27 saves, earning the win.

The Coyotes returned to .500 and sit six points back of the final West Division playoff spot. 

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The Game: 

First Period: The Coyotes scored three times to build a 3-0 lead. Derrick Brassard (2:53), Jakob Chychrun (5:35) and Brassard PPG (15:22).

Second Period: Brassard completed his hat trick :36 into the period to increase the Coyotes' lead to 4-0.

Third Period: Clayton Keller (12:17) gave the Coyotes a 5-0 lead. Adam Henrique scored the Ducks' lone goal at 14:27.

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Statistics:

SOG: ARI - 28, ANA - 28

PP: ARI - 1/2, ANA - 1/2

Hits: ARI - 16, ANA - 37

Blocks: ARI - 13, ANA - 10 

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Tocchet's Take: "It's always a big deal when you win. Some goals went in and it loosened some guys up. It's nice when you're ahead, and it was a good effort for the guys. It's always great when (players) get those milestones. That's good stuff. I really liked the fourth line tonight. I thought they gave us energy. I don't know if they got on the scoresheet, but it didn't matter for me. I thought in the first half of the game they really helped us get some energy." 

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Derick Brassard said: "We had our struggles during the (road trip). We started the trip with some points in Colorado, which was huge. We tried to stay positive. We were trying to find a solution and try to improve our game. We're looking at the standings this morning -- we're right there. It's been frustrating not being able to score, but everyday we're trying to find solutions to improve and we just have to build our game. We're going to have a big test at home. We've got to take care of those games at home, because after that we're gone again for a long road trip."

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Notable:

  • Derick Brassard recorded his first career NHL hat trick. Brassard had played the second-most regular-games (882) among active players without scoring a hat trick (Valtteri Filpulla, 1,038 games).
  • Phil Kessel registered his No. 500 NHL assist with the secondary assist on Derick Brassard's second, 3-0 goal. Kessel became the twentieth American to reach the milestone.
  • Jakob Chychrun registered his No. 100 NHL point with the primary assist on Derick Brassard's game-opening goal. Chychrun became the second youngest defenseman in Coyotes history to record 100 points with the team. 

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A Closer Look: Antti Raanta stopped 27 of 28 shots to earn his fifth win of the season. Raanta owns a .952 save percentage since Darcy Kuemper suffered an injury on March 8. He has saved 118 of 124 shots.

Coyotes Lineup:

Forwards

Keller - Schmaltz - Garland

Caggiula - Dvorak - Kessel

Crouse - Brassard - Pitlick

Fischer - Larsson - Fasching

Defensemen

Ekman-Larsson - Lyubushkin

Chychrun - Gross

Oesterle - Hjalmarsson 

Scratches

Hayden

Demers

Gross 

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Roster Notes: Antti Raanta returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a lower-body injury and made his ninth start of the season. Adin Hill backed up. Forwards Hudson Fasching and Drake Caggiula replaced John Hayden and Michael Chaput. Defense pairings were unchanged. 

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What's Next: The Coyotes travel home Saturday night, with a scheduled off-day Sunday. They play the Colorado Avalanche Monday, 7 p.m., at Gila River Arena.

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Photo of the Game: The thrill of three (goals). Derick Brassard flashes a smile as he celebrates his hat trick goal with the Coyotes bench.

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Highlights:

Video: Brassard's hat trick propels Coyotes to 5-1 victory

Lead Photo Credit: Debora Robinson - NHLI via Getty Images

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