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'Yotes Notes: Keller Scores 1st NHL Goal in Season Opener

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

ANAHEIM -- Coyotes rookie Clayton Keller, playing in his fourth NHL game, scored his first NHL goal on Thursday night in Arizona's 5-4 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in the season opener for both teams at Honda Center.

Keller, whom Arizona drafted seventh overall in 2016, gathered a loose puck in front of Ducks goalie John Gibson and swept it past him at 8:32 of the first period. The goal gave the Coyotes a 2-0 lead.

"It's cool, but it would have been nicer to get the win," Keller said. "Our team is more important so I'm not really focussed on my performance."

Video: Keller on 5-4 Loss to Ducks

Keller, 19, played three games for Arizona at the end of last season and notched two assists. He followed that up by leading the Coyotes in preseason scoring last month with eight points (three goals, five assists) in four games.

Video: ARI@ANA: Keller buries loose puck for first NHL goal

• Head Coach Rick Tocchet on Arizona blowing a three-goal lead:

"We were up 4-1 and we started to back off," Tocchet said. "It's hard to win in this league. It's really hard to win and you've got to be able to play hard, and I thought we started to back up ... It's a learning lesson, a tough one, because that's a game we should have had ... Anaheim made a push. That's why they're a good team. That's why they've won a lot of games. They stuck with it and we didn't." 

Video: Tocchet on 5-4 Loss to Ducks

* Alex Goligoski assisted on three of Arizona's four goals. He, like Tocchet, said the Coyotes lacked a killer instinct in the third period.

"We were on our heels a little bit and not executing," Goligoski said. "We had a lot of guys looking around and not enough guys taking charge ... I think we just lost focus a little bit and it spiraled out of control a little bit. Good teams don't do that."

Louis Domingue started in goal for the Coyotes and stopped 36 of 41 shots.

"It's a tough one to swallow," Domingue said. "We should have had that game - 100 percent. You score four goals you've got to manage a win there. Disappointing ... It's the first game for everyone so we're just going to put that behind us and move on because it's a long season."

Video: Domingue on 5-4 Loss to Ducks

Antti Raanta is the starter on the depth chart, but he has been nursing a lower-body injury the past few weeks and did not play. Raanta did dress for the game and served as Domingue's backup.

Max Domi gave the Coyotes a 3-1 lead with a goal at 8:20 of the second period, and assisted on Keller's goal. In three season openers with Arizona, Domi has chipped in two goals and three assists. 

Anthony Duclair scored Arizona's first goal of the season at 4:44 of the first period, capping a nifty give-and-go with Goligoski.

Duclair has scored 27 goals as an NHLer, with seven of those goals coming vs. Anaheim. That's 26 percent.

Christian Dvorak played 22:03 and won 12 of 20 face-offs.

• Derek Stepan wore the rotating third 'A' for the game, his first with the Coyotes. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Niklas Hjalmarsson are wearing the 'A' on a permanent basis this season.

• With the loss, Arizona dropped to 12-8-1 in season openers since moving from Winnipeg to Arizona in 1996.

 

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