PREVIEW: Arizona Coyotes seek repeat performance against Anaheim Ducks

Feb 22, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Coyotes center Christian Dvorak (18) celebrates with teammates ater scoring a goal in the third period against the Anaheim Ducks at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks and Arizona Coyotes might be ready to take a break from each other after Wednesday night.

That’s when the Ducks and Coyotes are scheduled to meet for the fourth time in the past four weeks in Glendale, Ariz., and each game has ratcheted up in intensity.

The Coyotes hold a 2-1-0 series lead against the Ducks after staging a major rally to beat them 4-3 on Monday. Arizona stormed back from a three-goal deficit to win in regulation for the first time in more than 15 years.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Coyotes, check out #ArizonaCoyotes rumors, rankings, and news here.

The game also included three fights, 46 penalty minutes and several heated exchanges between players as they came off the ice.
Much of the displeasure escalated after the Ducks surged to a 2-0 lead in what Arizona coach Rick Tocchet called one of the poorest stretches of the season.

“I want to see a response in the first period on Wednesday night,” Tocchet said.

The Ducks took their first three-goal lead of the season on Monday and then lost their fourth in a row.

Jakob Silfverberg remains optimistic for Anaheim, calling Monday’s game “a step in the right direction.”

“I think we played with a lot of passion and unity out there, and that’s what it takes moving forward here,” he said. “This is a stepping stone and this is something we can build on moving forward here. Hopefully with better results.”

Anaheim took the dramatic step of putting its leading goal and point scorer from last season, Adam Henrique, on waivers last week. He was not claimed by a team and remains Anaheim’s property, though he didn’t play in the loss on Monday and his status for Wednesday is undetermined.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Ducks, check out #FlyTogether rumors, rankings, and news here.

Instead, the organization called up Trevor Zegras, their first-round pick from 2019 who played just eight games in the American Hockey League before the Ducks stuck him in the starting lineup against the Coyotes.

Zegras was used sparingly in the loss, but he flashed his offensive skills several times during his 13:14 of ice time.

“I know, obviously, with the loss it’s tough for me to show how cool today was,” Zegras said. “The guys were unbelievable. The solo lap was something every kid kind of dreams of. For those guys to kind of make it a special day for me was pretty awesome.”

The Ducks have the second-worst power play in the NHL at 8.9 percent, and they’re hoping Zegras can help boost that number. He seemed comfortable on the power play on Monday, playing 4:37 with the man-advantage and setting up a couple teammates with good scoring chances that they failed to convert.

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“It’s nice to have time and space with the puck on your stick,” Zegras said of the power play. “It’s a whole different ballgame 5-on-5 when you’ve got to be engaged in battles and hitting guys and making plays. The biggest thing for me is the less time and space you have (in the NHL).”

Ducks coach Dallas Eakins was also pleased with the debut of Zegras.

“Overall, I thought he made good decisions with the puck,” Eakins said. “Without the puck, I thought he was running his routes and he was responsible. A good night for him.”

–Field Level Media