ARIZONA COYOTES

Coyotes erase 3-0 deficit for 2nd straight game to beat Ducks

Feb 24, 2021, 11:08 PM
Arizona Coyotes right wing Phil Kessel (81) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against ...

Arizona Coyotes right wing Phil Kessel (81) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

It was deja vu all over again for the Arizona Coyotes at home against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.

The Coyotes for a second straight game fell behind 3-0 to the Ducks, with the home side scoring three goals in the final period on Wednesday to stave off defeat, winning in a shootout 4-3.

Wednesday’s contest saw the Coyotes storm back, after forward Tyler Pitlick’s goal halfway through the final stanza ignited another come-from-behind victory.

That third-period comeback featured goals by Jakob Chychrun and veteran forward Phil Kessel, who capped it off with his seventh tally of the year to knot the game at 3 apiece with less than 5 minutes remaining.

Neither team found the net in overtime, leading to a shootout that saw a pair of conversions, one each from Christian Dvorak and Conor Garland, to seal the team’s second consecutive victory.

Wednesday’s win was full of highlights and lowlights for Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet.

“Well you just have to get that one, and I think we started to go with the flow. We just pushed the pace,” Tocchet said. “It’s one of those things where you don’t stop believing, but obviously you can’t get a steady dose of this. It’s great that we came back, but we have to be careful.”

Tocchet added that the team’s rally on Wednesday spoke to their ability to overcome early hiccups.

He also made sure to point out that the team can’t continue to roll the dice on starting slowly in games, as they won’t be able to dig their way out of early deficits consistently going forward.

“Honestly, it’s something that we’ve gotten better at the last couple of years. We’ve won some games from behind, we got two 6-on-5 goals,” Tocchet said. “That’s something that you can have the resiliency for. Now it’s a matter of starting the game and managing the game early on and pushing the pace.”

Tocchet’s team certainly showed its fair share of resiliency against the Ducks, storming back on a night where the visitors seemed to have the upper hand for most of the night.

The longtime NHL coach pointed to the decision to replace starting goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper with Adin Hill during the second intermission with the team down 3-0 as a key moment in the game.

Hill went on to stop all 14 of the shots he faced, sealing the team’s victory.

“I’ve got to give him a lot of credit. It’s just a testament to guys that you’ve got to believe,” Tocchet said.

“You can’t sit around and pout and be upset if you’re not in there and Adin hasn’t done that, and that’s why we won the game, is because of him.”

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