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Duclair's hat trick leads unbeaten Coyotes past Ducks

by Abbey Mastracco

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Rookie Anthony Duclair had his first career NHL hat trick and Mike Smith made 37 saves to lead the unbeaten Arizona Coyotes to a 4-0 victory against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday at Honda Center.

Duclair, who was acquired by Arizona from the New York Rangers on March 1, entered the season with one NHL goal but scored three times before the second period was 11 minutes old, showing tremendous quickness and a deft scoring touch.

"Very special," Duclair said of his big night. "We've got a special group in this locker room, and it just makes it that much more fun. The veterans here have done a great job of easing the young guys on to the team, and I give credit to them."

Another Coyotes' rookie, Max Domi, scored his second NHL goal and assisted on Duclair's second goal. Domi has four points in three games, all Arizona victories. The Coyotes have outscored their opponents 10-2 and are 3-0-0 for the first time since 2003-04.

Coach Dave Tippett credits the speed that the rookies have brought lineup for the Coyotes' fast start.

"They're really working hard at playing a strong team game and trying to fit in, but we need their speed and skill and tonight that was on display," Tippett said. "They're also playing a real solid game without the puck, which is great to see."

Duclair has benefited from the veteran leadership of center Martin Hanzal on his line and having another fast wing, Tobias Rieder, on the right side. Hanzal assisted on all three of Duclair's goals and has been effective at creating space for the young speedsters on his wings.

"I've got some good chemistry with Rieder and Hanzal," Duclair said. "On all three goals, I think, I've got to give credit to my linemates and obviously, [Domi] on the second one."

Hanzal set up Arizona's first goal by winning an offensive-zone draw and sending the puck to Duclair, who one-timed it past Anton Khudobin 3:16 into the game. Duclair made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 9:55 when he fired the rebound of Domi's shot past Khudobin. Domi took the puck in the neutral zone and blew past Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa to the net.

Domi made it 3-0 when he whipped a high backhander from the right circle into the net at 12:53. That goal ended Khudobin's Anaheim debut; Frederick Andersen, who was receiving a scheduled night off, relieved him and made 20 saves.

Duclair completed his hat trick at 10:57 of the second period, beating Andersen from the slot.

Speed is the name of the Coyotes' game right now, and that speed was too much for the Ducks.

"We've tried to play fast all year," Tippett said. "We want to play fast out of our zone and fast through the neutral zone and fast to the net. We made a couple good plays there that allowed us to do that."

The rest of the night belonged to Smith, who had his first shutout since March 4, 2014. He was aided by a defense that kept Anaheim from generating good scoring opportunities and limited the Ducks' second chances.

The Ducks (0-2-1) are still struggling to find their offense. They have one goal in three games and are trying to find some sort of offensive chemistry.

"I thought we came out in the second [period] and we were better, but we've got to find a way to put the puck in the net," center Ryan Kesler said. "That's the bottom line. We're a good team when we work as a five-man unit. We're not on the same page right now. We're working hard, but sometimes we're not working smart."

Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf said the Ducks were "embarrassed" and "playing like a team not playing for anything right now. It's about accountability."

Coach Bruce Boudreau questioned his players' drive.

"We didn't win the battles," Boudreau said. "When you go in the corners and you don't come up with the puck, it's because the will of the other team is greater than ours. We're not used to that being the case. It's back to the drawing board to see why those things aren't working."

The Coyotes nearly made it 5-0 at 19:34 of the second period, but with Hanzal falling over Andersen, the goal was waved off for goaltender interference. Tippett used his coach's challenge, but the call was upheld.

Anaheim continues its homestand Friday against the Colorado Avalanche. Arizona hosts the Minnesota Wild on Thursday in the second half of a back-to-back.

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