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'Yotes Notes: Raanta Earns First Win with Arizona

Goalie Antti Raanta made 35 saves plus 2 more in shootout vs. Carolina on Saturday

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

GLENDALE -- Goalie Antti Raanta bolted out of the crease and into the arms of his teammates on Saturday night after making the game-deciding save in a 2-1 shootout win over Carolina at Gila River Arena. 

That's because Raanta, who recently missed three weeks nursing a lower-body injury, had a lot of things to celebrate.

First and foremost, Raanta stopped 35 of 36 shots over 65 minutes, plus two more in the shootout, to earn his first victory with the Coyotes.

"I felt like I was dialed in and I felt like I was moving really good today," Raanta said. "I was in the right place and was following the puck."

Raanta also was excited to win his first shootout as an NHL goalie. He entered the game 0-5 and allowed 10 goals on 20 shots in those five defeats.

"They had a good push in the third period, but they didn't really have that many opportunities other than the backdoor play which they scored on," Raanta said. "Other than that, I think we were pretty solid."

Video: Raanta on Shootout Win vs. Canes

• For a moment it appeared Raanta may have suffered yet another injury. During the overtime, Raanta raced from the crease to play a loose puck along the boards. Carolina's Derek Ryan also pursued the puck and the two players collided as they reached for it. The collision briefly stunned the Coyotes goalie, but after a visit from head athletic trainer Dave Zenobi, Raanta stayed in the game and played a key role in Arizona's first home win of the season.

Video: CAR@ARI: Raanta tangles up with Ryan along the boards

"Yeah, that was a tough one," Head Coach Rick Tocchet said. "Last thing I want is for him to have a concussion or something. When he got up and our head trainer went over there, he kind of smiled at me and I knew we were OK. We were all looking from the bench saying 'Oh no, here we go.' He played solid tonight."

After the game, Raanta said he was feeling no effects from the shoulder-to-shoulder hit from Ryan, whom he thwarted to end the shootout.

"When you win a game, you don't feel anything," Raanta said with a smile. "You just feel great."

Clayton Keller scored a goal at 11:33 of the second period to give Arizona a 1-0 lead for the 11th time in 15 games. 

The goal was Keller's 10th of the season. Only three other NHLers - Nikita Kucherov, John Tavares and Alex Ovechkin - have scored more goals than Keller this season.

A strong forecheck by Keller and a nifty cross-crease pass by Brad Richardson set up the goal.

"I hopped off the bench and their team didn't really see me," Keller said. "I tried to sniff that out and it went into one of their guy's feet and (Richardson) was able to pick it up and find me backdoor wide open."

Keller also scored the first of Arizona's two shootout goals using a deke-to-forehand move he's been practicing without much success.

Video: CAR@ARI: Keller dances around Darling to score in SO

"It was a good to see it work there," Keller said. "Whatever you go with, you've got to be committed to it. I'm always going to go with my thought and if I believe in it, hopefully good things will happen ... We played hard in all three zones tonight, and when they put pressure, Antti was back there helping us out."

Tocchet sent Keller, who had never taken a shootout shot in the NHL, to shoot first for the Coyotes.

"The fans loved it," Tocchet said. "If I don't put him out there first, they'll probably kill me."

Video: Keller on Shootout Goal vs. CAR

Derek Stepan scored Arizona's second shootout goal between Carolina goalie Scott Darling's legs, per a tip from Coyotes goalie coach Jon Elkin. 

Stepan has scored eight shootout goals on 22 shots in his NHL career. That's a 36.4 percent success rate.

Video: CAR@ARI: Stepan goes backhand to seal shootout win 

Alex Goligoski played a team-high 28:51 and blocked five shots on goal.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Goligoski and Stepan each wore an 'A' vs. Carolina. Arizona does not have a captain this season. 

• Coyotes owner Andrew Barroway attended the game and Tocchet's post-game press conference. He applauded when Tocchet entered the room, drawing laughs and smiles from all present, including Tocchet, who jokingly asked Barroway not to ask him any questions during the press conference. 

Video: Tocchet on Right Play at Right Time

 

 

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