After struggling to find offense through the first four games of the preseason, the Ducks erupted for six goals in a 6-4 comeback victory over the Arizona Coyotes at Tucson Arena on Monday night.
Nick Ritchie led the way with two goals (one shorthanded), while Logan Shaw, Brandon Montour, Dennis Rasmussen and Rickard Rakell also lit the lamp for the Ducks, who improved to 2-3-0 in the preseason. Ryan Miller went the distance in his first start of the preseason, giving up four goals in the win. Anaheim erased multiple deficits, including a 2-0 hole in the first period.
Brendan Perlini, Kyle Wood, Mario Kempe and Dylan Strome scored for the Coyotes, who fell to 1-2-1 in exhibition play. Louis Domingue started the game for Arizona, but left in the second period for precautionary reasons. Marek Langhamer came on in relief and finished the game for the Coyotes.
Arizona recorded the first goal of the game when Perlini unloaded a snap shot that beat Miller over the glove at the 5:18 mark of the first period. Miller appeared to be caught off guard on the initial release, which came from the top of the right faceoff dot. The goal was Perlini's first point in three preseason games.
The Coyotes struck again late in the period when Wood's slap shot beat Miller up high with Ducks right wing Ondrej Kase in the penalty box. It was Wood's first goal in two preseason games thus far, with the assists credited to Anthony Duclair and Kevin Connauton.
Anaheim cut the deficit in half at the two-minute mark of the middle frame when Ritchie carried the mail from one end to the other, eventually using a forehand-to-backhand move to beat Domingue on a breakaway. It marked the first shorthanded goal of the preseason for the Ducks, who entered the game with just seven goals overall in four exhibition games.
Oddly enough, another Ducks penalty led to another shorthanded goal. This time it was Shaw, who, like Ritchie, was able to walk in all alone on Domingue with Kevin Bieksa in the penalty box. Shaw beat the Coyotes netminder clean with a wrist shot that evened the score at two, just minutes after Ritchie got the Ducks on the board.
The Coyotes regained the lead when Strome used his size and strength to muscle his way to the net. The former third overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft managed to shield the puck from two Ducks defenders before using a backhand shot to beat Miller shortside.
Arizona increased its lead to 4-2 when the Ducks found themselves scrambling in their own zone. A tic-tac-toe sequence ended with Kempe dropping to a knee to unload a one-timer from the right faceoff circle.
The resilient Ducks got one back 11 seconds later courtesy of Montour's highlight-worthy goal. The fleet-footed defenseman rushed down the right wing and unloaded a blistering snap shot from just above the dot to make it a 4-3 score. Domingue appeared to injure himself on the play, and did not return for precautionary reasons.
Gloves dropped shortly after Montour's goal when Coyotes defenseman Dakota Mermis delivered a big hit behind the Ducks net. Ducks forward Chris Wagner obliged, and the two squared off in a brief scrap.
Anaheim's persistence paid off early in the third period when a key hold at the point eventually led to the game-tying goal. The play started when Montour held the puck in the zone at the right point. From there, he sent a crisp pass to his d-partner Marcus Pettersson, who sent a slap shot on net. Rasmussen, camped in front of Langhamer, managed to get a piece of the shot to even the score, 4-4.
Riding a wave of momentum, the Ducks found a way to strike again. This time, it was Rakell, who snaked his way through two Coyotes before beating Langhamer at the 11:58 mark of the third period. The assists were credited to Andrew Cogliano and Ritchie.
Already riding a multi-point performance Ritchie gave the Ducks a crucial insurance goal with under five minutes remaining in regulation, this one coming in a goal-mouth scramble in front of Langhamer. Ritchie, who had already become to first Ducks player to record multiple points in a single preseason game, finished with a game-high three points (2g/1a).
The Ducks will return home to face the San Jose Sharks at Honda Center on Thursday before concluding their preseason schedule on Saturday against the LA Kings at STAPLES Center.