Is it proper to serve to duck for Thanksgiving dinner? I guess that decision is up to the host of the meal but on Wednesday evening the Arizona Coyotes dined on the visiting Anaheim Ducks in a 4-2 victory for an early Thanksgiving dinner. The Coyotes were led by a pair of goals from their center Antoine Vermette, his first two of the season.
“It’s probably his (Vermette) best game he’s played all year,” Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said. “Not just because of the goals but he was really engaged in the game. Hopefully that’s a good step for him.”
The Coyotes improved 11-9-1 this season and are 6-1 in the Pacific Division. With the win Arizona improved to 3-0 this season against the Ducks. Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett was succinct in his assessment of his squad’s recent dominance over Anaheim.
“No explanation,” Tippett said. “Just opportunistic.”
Arizona opened up the scoring early in the first period. Coyotes defenseman scored his second goal of the season off a long distance slap shot at 3:14 into the opening stanza. Kyle Chipchura dropped a dime to Stone and in the process tallied fifth assist of the season.
The Coyotes doubled their lead in the second period on a rare sighting. Arizona’s Antoine Vermette put back Max Domi’s shot and scored his first goal of the season at 5:25 in the second. Mikkel Boedker also assisted on the power play goal and gave the Coyotes a 2-0 advantage. Domi is second in assists (9) and is tied for the lead in goals (8) amongst NHL rookies.
Going into the game the Coyotes maintained a perfect record of 8-0-0 when leading after two-periods. 19-seconds into the third period put that record in jeopardy after Ducks Ryan Kessler scored his third goal of the season. The lead was chopped in half.
But any notion of changing momentum was squelched within 90-seconds.
Domi kept the puck alive in Anaheim’s zone and quickly passed to his fellow rookie, Anthony Duclair. The young forward made the difficult task of weaving through traffic with a puck look easy as he scored his eighth goal of the season on a backhand a 1:57 into the third period. Duclair and Domi are tied for the NHL rookie lead with eight goals scored this season.
The Ducks kept the game interesting after Sami Vatanen scored a power play goal at 7:47 in the third period to make it a 3-2 game. But Vermette squashed the Ducks’ hope for a comeback when he scored an empty net goal with 1:06 left in the game.
After sitting out they Coyotes last game, due to a lower body injury, Mike Smith started in goal and stopped 29 of 31-shots. Smith is 9-5-1, with a 2.95 GAA and .906 SV%.
The Coyotes have Thursday off to enjoy Thanksgiving with the special people in their lives. On Black Friday the ‘Yotes host the Calgary Flames and the puck drops at 7 p.m. (AZ). The following evening the Ottawa Senators are in Valley of the Sun and game has a special start time of 8 p.m. (AZ)