Anthony Duclair breaks scoring drought as Coyotes win second straight
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coyotes coach Dave Tippett could see Anthony Duclair’s game coming, but there were details he needed to shore up, there were stretches where he needed to impact the game more, and there was that glaring zero under his goal-scoring ledger that needed addressing.
Duclair checked most of the boxes in Thursday’s 3-2, shootout win over Nashville at Gila River Arena, the Coyotes’ second straight victory. The second-year forward scored his first goal of the season by going to the net and banging home a rebound off Max Domi’s attempt to tie the game in the third period. He also scored in overtime with a filthy move in which he made a half dozen stick fakes before going to his backhand and beating Predators goalie Pekka Rinne.
“It was bound to happen one game or the other. The thing for me was to not get frustrated and know it was coming (because) I’m playing with some pretty good linemates,” Duclair said. “It’s been a bit of a challenge. It definitely felt like forever.”
Duclair and Domi have both been struggling to find the back of the net, but Domi had six assists entering play against the Predators and Tippett felt his game was in better shape than Duclair’s before this week.
“He had some good chances the last game so you knew it was just a matter of time before he was going to capitalize on some,” Tippett said of Duclair. “He’s coming. He had a heck of a backcheck to shut a play down and scored a heck of a goal. That’s moving in the right direction. He’s got to feel good about himself.”
Rookie Christian Dvorak also scored for the Coyotes in regulation on a deft move to his backhand, marking his first NHL goal just a day after he was recalled from Tucson to replace injured center Martin Hanzal in the lineup, and just four days after he was sent to Tucson.
“I was in the hotel there for like a day and a half and then packed back up again,” Dvorak quipped.
Right winger Radim Vrbata also scored in the shootout for Arizona with his patented backhand move. The goal was Vrbata’s 42nd career shootout goal and tied him with Detroit’s Frans Nielsen for the most in NHL history.
“He tries a few other moves but he always seem to go back to the money one,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said, smiling.
Vrbata ranks 12th in percentage among NHL players with at least 40 shootout attempts. He is 42 for 97 (43.3 percent).
“With this move, I think if you do it right, you can freeze the goalie where he has to respect the shot and then it’s effective,” Vrbata said. “Lots of other right-hand shooters did it in Czech (Republic), like Robert Lang, guys on the national team. You just know it works if you do it right even though most of the goalies know what you’re doing.”
Louis Domingue made 35 saves in his second straight strong outing as the Coyotes improved to 4-6 and put more distance between themselves and that 1-5 road trip as they prepare for a game on Friday in Anaheim. Domingue said he was dehydrated from sweating too much in the game. He experienced cramping in the overtime, which drew a visit from trainer Jason Serbus, but he stayed in the game and made a key, post-to-post stop on Calle Jarnkrok.
Nashville entered the game as the NHL’s No. 2 ranked power play at 33.3 percent, but the Predators went 1 for 7 (14.2 percent) against the Coyotes’ 26th-ranked penalty-killing unit, including a 4-on-3 opportunity in overtime.
“I like the scheme that we’re using,” Tippett said. “We’re doing some things right, not giving up real quality chances, battling hard around the front of our net. They’ve got some high skill on that team so our guys did a hell of a job.”