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Getzlaf sidelined with lower-body injury for Anaheim; Tocchet to debut as Arizona coach

by Dan Arritt / NHL.com Correspondent

COYOTES (0-0-0) at DUCKS (0-0-0)

10 p.m. ET; PRIME, FS-A, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The Anaheim Ducks will be without several key players when they open the season against the Arizona Coyotes at Honda Center on Thursday.

Center Ryan Getzlaf was ruled out with a lower-body injury despite practicing on Wednesday. Also missing for Anaheim will be forwards Patrick Eaves (lower-body injury) and Ryan Kesler (hip surgery), defensemen Hampus Lindholm (shoulder surgery) and Sami Vatanen (shoulder surgery) and backup goaltender Ryan Miller (upper-body injury).

Getzlaf led the Ducks with 73 points (15 goals, 58 assists) last season, Kesler was second with 58 points (22 goals, 36 assists) and Eaves had 14 points (11 goals, three assists) in 20 games after he was acquired in a trade with the Dallas Stars on Feb. 24. Each played a key role in helping the Ducks reach the Western Conference Final last season.

Anaheim has lost nine of its past 10 season openers since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007. Opening the season at home also has been a rarity in Anaheim; the Ducks have hosted a season opener four times in the previous 24 seasons.

Rick Tocchet will coach his first NHL game for the Coyotes, who will dress 11 players not on the opening night roster last season.

Among the notable additions is defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who spent the past 10 years with the Chicago Blackhawks and won three Stanley Cup titles. Hjalmarsson was named one of Arizona's alternate captains along with defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the club's longest-tenured player at seven seasons.

Other new Coyotes looking to make an impact include first-line center Derek Stepan and goaltender Antti Raanta, each acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers on June 23.

The retirement of longtime Arizona forward Shane Doan and the departure of last season's leading point scorer Radim Vrbata, who signed a free-agent contract with Florida Panthers on July 1, also opened up opportunities; Rookie center Dylan Strome and rookie forwards Clayton Keller and Christian Fischer each earned a roster spot.

 

Players to watch

Coyotes forward Max Domi missed 23 games last season with a broken hand, but the 22-year-old had 52 points (18 goals, 34 assists) in 81 games as a rookie in 2015-16.

Ducks forward Rickard Rakell led Anaheim with 33 goals last season and will move from right wing to center to help fill the void left by Kesler's injury.

 

They said it

"Teams are going to be making pushes in the League. I just don't want us to be chasing pucks and get out of structure. If we can just stay with it, trust where everyone is going to be, you have a better chance of breaking out of your end." -- Tocchet on facing the Ducks

"We've tried to create a couple of bullet points right from the first day of training camp that we felt were going to be necessary. For any team to build a base, you have to have a foundation, and our foundation has to be work ethic and our ability to play with structure. Those two things are the cement and the bricks that give you an opportunity to build something. If you don't have those, then you don't have a chance." -- Ducks coach Randy Carlyle on overcoming injuries to begin the season

 

Coyotes projected lineup

Clayton Keller -- Derek Stepan -- Max Domi

Anthony Duclair -- Christian Dvorak -- Tobias Rieder

Brendan Perlini -- Dylan Strome -- Lawson Crouse

Jordan Martinook -- Brad Richardson -- Christian Fischer

Niklas Hjalmarsson -- Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Alex Goligoski -- Jason Demers

Kevin Connauton -- Luke Schenn

Louis Domingue

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Nick Cousins, Zac Rinaldo, Adam Clendening

Injured: Jakob Chychrun (knee)

 

Ducks projected lineup

Nick Ritchie -- Rickard Rakell -- Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano -- Antoine Vermette -- Jakob Silfverberg

Giovanni Fiore -- Chris Wagner -- Ondrej Kase

Derek Grant -- Dennis Rasmussen -- Logan Shaw

Cam Fowler -- Josh Manson

Francois Beauchemin -- Brandon Montour

Korbinian Holzer -- Kevin Bieksa

John Gibson

Reto Berra

Scratched: Jaycob Megna, Jared Boll

Injured: Patrick Eaves (lower body), Ryan Miller (upper body), Ryan Getzlaf (lower body), Ryan Kesler (hip surgery), Hampus Lindholm (shoulder surgery), Sami Vatanen (shoulder surgery)

 

Status report

Raanta was cleared to play after missing part of the preseason with a lower-body injury, but Tocchet elected to start Domingue. ... The Ducks recalled Fiore from San Diego of the American Hockey League. He is expected to make his NHL debut, playing left wing on the third line. Fiore was one of the final cuts and spent two days in the AHL before his recall. "It feels like I never left," he said.

 

Stat pack

Anaheim has had at least 100 points in the past four seasons. … The Coyotes feature eight players age 22 or younger.

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