Sports News

NHL Hockey
Scoreboard| Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions
1
Final 1 2 3 Tot
Arizona 0 1 0 1
Anaheim 1 1 0 2
2
7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 PM MST9:00 PM EST6:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ET23:00 BRT, October 3, 2019
Honda Center, Anaheim, California  Attendance: 17,174

Kessel making Coyotes' debut vs. punchless Ducks

Arizona Coyotes at Anaheim Ducks

  1. Arizona won both of its trips to Anaheim last season after losing each of the previous five (0-4-1). The Coyotes have not won three straight road games against the Ducks since 2010-11, going 6-9-3 since then.
  2. Arizona finished last season with a .524 points percentage, its first season above .500 since 2013-14. The Coyotes have missed the playoffs in seven straight seasons, the second-longest active drought (Sabres, eight straight) and longest in franchise history.
  3. Anaheim missed the playoffs last season, snapping a six-season postseason streak that dated back to 2012-13. The Ducks averaged just 2.39 goals per game last season, fewest in the NHL and the club's lowest average since scoring 2.24 goals per game in 2003-04.
  4. Jakob Silfverberg scored a career-high 24 goals last season, the only Duck to score 20+ goals -- the club's fewest 20-goal scorers in a non-shortened season since 1997-98 (Teemu Selanne, 52). Anaheim was the only team with just one 20-goal scorer last season. Arizona had no skaters reach 20 goals last season.
  5. Ryan Getzlaf led the Ducks with just 48 points last season -- the second lowest point total by a team leader in the NHL last season -- just ahead of Arizona's Clayton Keller (47). Getzlaf has 64 points (19g, 45a) in 69 career games against the Coyotes, third most among active players; only Joe Thornton (89) and Anze Kopitar (73) have more.
  6. The Coyotes made two key acquisitions in Phil Kessel (27 goals with Pittsburgh last season) and Carl Soderberg (23 goals with Colorado), the only team to add two 20-goal scorers this offseason. No team has added more goals from last season than the Coyotes' 50 from those two skaters.

Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka addressed his team's lack of scoring punch in 2018-19 by registering what he hoped was a knockout blow in the offseason.

Chayka will see the first bout play out on Thursday as six-time 30-goal scorer Phil Kessel makes his debut for the Coyotes in their season opener against the host Anaheim Ducks.

Kessel, who was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins for fellow forward Alex Galchenyuk on June 30, enjoyed a point-per-game pace in 2018-19 and matched the second-highest single-season output (82 points) of his 13-year career.

The two-time Stanley Cup champion didn't need to introduce himself to head coach Rick Tocchet, who served as his assistant coach for three seasons (2014-17) with the Penguins.

Kessel isn't the only new acquisition for the Coyotes, who welcomed Carl Soderberg after the 33-year-old Swede recorded a career-high 23 goals last season with the Colorado Avalanche.

The additions certainly are welcome in Arizona, which saw second-year forward Clayton Keller lead the team with just 47 points last season. That type of offense was a main reason why the Coyotes narrowly missed out on securing their first postseason berth since reaching the 2012 Western Conference finals.

"Yes. Top to bottom, through the middle of the ice, premium positions, I can say confidently this is the best roster," Chayka said. "Now, they're going to go out and play, and the results are what matter. We'll see how many points we can get in the standings, but certainly the expectation is to progress and be better."

Chayka also addressed the team's last line of defense by signing goaltender Darcy Kuemper to a two-year contract extension on Wednesday.

Kuemper capped a career season by posting a sizzling 22-9-6 record with a 2.05 goals-against average in his last 37 decisions. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Kuemper is expected to share goaltending duties with Antti Raanta, who is returning from knee surgery.

"I'm thrilled to re-sign with the Coyotes," Kuemper said. "We have a great team and first-class organization and I love living and playing in the Valley. I'm excited to grow and build with our group."

While positives abound in Arizona, Anaheim saw the bottom fall out in 2018-19 as a demoralizing 5-21-4 stretch sent the team spiraling to a sixth-place finish in the Pacific Division.

John Gibson will be tasked with saving new coach Dallas Eakins' bacon for a Ducks' squad that struggled to score goals (2.43 per game) and is in the midst of transition.

Gibson sported a 26-22-8 record with two shutouts, a 2.84 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 2018-19. The 26-year-old's GAA was the highest of his career, although he received little help with the team ravaged by injuries last season.

Captain Ryan Getzlaf led the team in assists (34) and points (48) in 2018-19 and has seen progress after the club capped a 4-1-1 mark in preseason with a 2-1 victory over Arizona on Saturday.

"We're being positive. We're moving in the right direction. That's the main thing we're looking for in the preseason," the 34-year-old Getzlaf said. "The results are great, but it's about building our game."

--Field Level Media

Updated October 2, 2019

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2019 by STATS.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.