By Kyle Shohara
It was the Ducks of years past last night in their impressive 5-3 comeback victory against the Calgary Flames, and tonight they’ll look to keep the positive vibes flowing as they take on the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena.
Led by Rickard Rakell’s two goals, Corey Perry’s two goals and three points, and Ryan Getzlaf’s club- and personal-tying five-assist/point night, the Ducks erased an early two-goal deficit and found the equalizer in the opening minutes of the third period. Goals from Perry and Ryan Kesler later in the period sealed a hard-fought regulation victory. The win put the Ducks three points up on Calgary, one behind the Coyotes and two behind the third-place San Jose Sharks in the Pacific Division. [San Jose hosts the Chicago Blackhawks tonight.]
Perhaps the 2-0 deficit would’ve been a nail in the coffin earlier this season for Anaheim, but Perry says the team never stopped believing last night.
“We don’t want to be down after two periods in those situations, but to have that confidence and belief in that dressing room that we can come back, it’s starting to put together things we’ve talked about,” Perry said. “This is what we want to do. It’s great to finally be able to do it. That’s how we want to play.”
Perhaps the third time’s a charm in the season series with the Coyotes, which, up to this point, has been the Anthony Duclair and Max Domi show. The 20-year-old rookies were dominant in the previous two games (Arizona victories) combining for seven goals and eight points. Duclair became the first Coyotes rookie to record a hat trick on October 14 at Honda Center since Daniel Carcillo did so on April 4, 2008. Domi, meanwhile, had two goals and a +3 rating in Arizona’s 4-3 overtime victory in Anaheim on November 9.
“They thrive off speed and they’re able to push you back with that type of speed,” said Cam Fowler, on the duo. “Both of them play similar styles, so it’s about taking away their time and space as best we can, and limit their transition opportunities because that’s when they’re dangerous.”
Duclair is currently on a career-tying four-game point streak (1g/4a), ranks fifth in rookie points (7g/6a) and tied for the second most goals among rookies. Domi is second among NHL rookies in points (16, 8g/8a) and tied for first in goals through 20 games. Domi is also tied for second among league rookies in assists. The Coyotes are 4-1-0 when the son of Tie posts a multi-point game.
“They beat us twice in our building,” said Perry. “That doesn’t happen a whole lot, and it doesn’t sit well with us. We know what we have to do. We have to come in here and be ready to play.”
Clayton Stoner says tonight will be a test of whether or not the Ducks learned from previous shortcomings this season.
“We’ve been searching all season for consistency and momentum to propel us with a few wins and some confidence,” said Stoner. “There is no time like the present. If we’ve learned from our mistakes in the past, whether it’s taking teams lightly or not showing up on consecutive games, we’ll be better off tonight. We’ll be ready.”