Skip to Main Content
The Official Site of the Arizona Coyotes

Top Pick helps Top Kings

Coyotes kick-off preseason with 2-1 win over Los Angeles

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

The first one, the first win, and the first-round pick first star.

Dylan Guenther scored the game-winning goal with 10:49 remaining in the Coyotes' 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings in the teams' preseason opener Monday night at Gila River Arena.

Guenther, selected No. 9 overall in July's draft, also assisted Arizona's first goal. He finished the night with two points (1G, 1A) and was named the game's first star.

Many Coyotes made their team "debuts" Monday night, including head coach André Tourigny. 

"Our guys worked really hard," Tourigny said. "They battled. They had a purpose with what they were trying to do. I'm really happy. It's training camp. We had a few breakdowns, which was expected. It was the same thing for the coach. It was my first game in a long, long time. So, I was a little bit rusty, I'll be honest, in the first period. But I was really happy about the effort." 

Defenseman Loui Eriksson was one of eleven players on Monday night's roster who had never played for the Coyotes organization.

Eriksson opened the Coyotes scoring, tying the game, 1-1, late in the second period. The primary assist credited to Guenther. Eriksson was acquired in the July 23 trade, along with the first-round draft pick the Coyotes used to select Guenther. 

Eriksson, a 15-year NHL veteran, was named the game's second star. He has been pleased with the change of scenery, thus far. 

"Everybody knows it was tough for me (in Vancouver)," Eriksson said. "I was really happy to be able to come here and get a chance to play and show myself again. So, it was definitely a nice thing for that to happen over the summer. I've been working hard. I didn't play many games last year, so I've been working hard to get in shape and get better. I'm excited to be here." 

Eriksson's goal was scored with traffic in front of the net; Guenther's goal, too, was scored with activity in the slot.

"(It) was the traffic," said Tourigny. "Both goals were pucks on net with a lot of traffic and a rebound. I think that has to be a part of our identity. In the NHL, that's the way you have to play. You have to get inside. You need to get in the dirty areas and have a net-front presence. I like how we showed up in front of their net all night long. We battled hard in front of their net and we had a lot of shots with traffic. That gave us a chance, and that's why we won."

Aside from his goal, Tourigny was thoroughly impressed with Eriksson's game.

"Loui played really well," Tourigny said. "Not just his goal, but the way he held his position, the way he distributed the puck, the way he played defensively. It was really solid. We were happy with a lot of guys' games, but Loui is one guy who stood out to me."

Goaltender Josef Korenar, whom the Coyotes faced in the final series of the 2020-21 regular season, got the start and stopped 18 of 19 shots in two periods. Korenar, 23, was acquired from the San Jose Sharks in July. 

"I was happy to play a game again after a couple months off," Korenar said. "I think we played the right way, and everything went well. I'm glad we won. I felt good out there, and I felt like the whole team was pretty settled. It was nice." 

Goalie Anson Thornton replaced Korenar to begin the third period and stopped all 17 shots he faced. Thornton, 18, is attending camp on an amateur tryout agreement.

"(Our goaltending) was really good," Tourigny said. "Both of them. Our young boy (Thornton) went in in the third and was a little bit nervous at the beginning, but he adjusted really well and made key saves. He was tested. We were protecting a lead, and he did a really good job. Same thing for our starter (Korenar). He was really good. I think he stood up big and made big saves. It's preseason, so you will not play a perfect game, and we had a few breakdowns where he needed to make a big save and stand tall, and he did."

The Coyotes continue their preseason schedule Wednesday in Anaheim, when they take on the Ducks at Honda Center, 7:00 p.m.

Photos Credit: Kelsey Grant - Arizona Coyotes

View More