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'Yotes Notes: Kuemper Praises Teammates After Earning First Win

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

VANCOUVER -- Darcy Kuemper stopped 16 of 17 shots and earned his first victory as a member of the Coyotes on Wednesday night as Arizona beat Vancouver, 2-1, at Rogers Arena. 

Derek Stepan notched the game-winning goal with just 58 seconds left in the third period, and Clayton Keller provided the other goal and the key assist on Stepan's goal.

The Coyotes, who extended their point streak to four games, dominated the game.

"That's one of the best games I've seen any team play this year," said Kuemper, who improved his record to 1-1-1 since coming to Arizona via trade with Los Angeles on Feb. 21. "(The Coyotes) were just incredible from start to finish. We had the puck for almost the entire game and put down in their zone, so I was just hoping my feet wouldn't fall asleep."

Video: Kuemper: One of Our Best Games

Kuemper started in place of Antti Raanta, who missed a second consecutive game because of a lower-body injury. Raanta is considered day-to-day and did not dress for the game. Rookie Adin Hill served as Kuemper's backup.

"He was solid," Head Coach Rick Tocchet said of Kuemper. "There's some stretches there, a couple times, where he didn't get any shots for a little bit, so that's sometimes tough. But I thought he came up with some big saves for us. And that's why we acquired him. He did a nice job."

Kuemper said it was a little tricky trying to stay engaged in the game mentally what with the Coyotes outshooting the Canucks 34-17.

"I was just trying to stay ready," Kuemper said. "It's a tie game the whole way, but we're dominating the play so you just want to do your part and not let the guys down ... The guys did a great job in front of me. The chances they (Vancouver) did get I was able to see, and the guys cleared out all the rebounds and made my job pretty easy tonight."

• Stepan won 11 of 17 face-offs, including one that set up his game-winning goal with less than a minute to play. Keller gathered the puck after the draw in Vancouver's zone and then skillfully fed it back to Stepan who'd drifted between the circles. From there, Stepan beat Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom with a net-seeking shot over his glove. 

Video: ARI@VAN: Stepan buries perfect wrister from the slot

"I have been talking with my wingers a lot about helping on draws, and (Keller) was able to help on the face-off," Stepan said. "(He) gets the puck on his stick, and it's a pretty elite play he makes." 

• The Coyotes are 3-0-1 in their past four games and have earned at least a point in 11 of their past 13 games. The win on Wednesday was Arizona's first at Rogers Arena since Jan. 4 , 2016. 

"Our group did a good job of sticking with it," Stepan said. "We did a lot of good things to not get stubborn with our play, make sure we defended when we needed to and get pucks in deep, and we get rewarded."

Video: Stepan: We Stuck With It

• Keller's two points raised his team-high total to 48. It was the 10th multi-point game of his impressive rookie season.

"He had some energy tonight," Tocchet said. "He had the puck a lot. One thing is he's not afraid to go to the net and he showed that getting that goal for us and obviously making that play to 'Step.' I really feel this last month he's going to finish strong."

Oliver Ekman-Larsson assisted on Keller's power-play goal at 18:20 of the first period to extend his point streak to four games.

• Laurent Dauphin played his first game since returning to the Coyotes after a trade with Chicago back in January. Dauphin skated 10:05, took one shot on goal and delivered one hit.   

• Arizona played minus defenseman Alex Goligoski, who did not accompany the team on this three-game trip as he and his wife await the birth of their second child.

Video: Tocchet on Kuemper, Resilience vs. VAN

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