ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Ducks weren’t too excited about the start to their season opener, but turns out they had an exciting finish in the wings.
After falling behind 4-1 Thursday night to the Coyotes, Anaheim responded with four consecutive goals to edge Arizona 5-4 on a goal by Rickard Rakell with 3:30 left to play.
Anaheim’s Corey Perry scored twice and set up Andrew Coglino’s tying goal with 6:15 remaining.
“That’s not the way we want to start a hockey game,” Perry said. “They played well the first half of the game and we didn’t do what we needed to do.
“Late in the second period we started to find our legs and started to get involved emotionally, and it carried over to that third period.”
It was difficult loss for the young Coyotes playing their first game under coach Rick Tocchet.
“We’re up 4-1 and started to back off,” Tocchet said.
“It’s a learning lesson. It’s a tough one, because that’s a game we should have had. I liked the way we were playing at 4-1, it just seemed like Anaheim made a push. That’s why they’re a good team and have won a lot of games. They stuck with it and we didn’t.”
Arizona scored a pair of power-play goals in the second period to take a seemingly commanding 4-1 lead.
The second power-play goal came after Perry knocked down Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue behind the net. That led to a wild scuffle that lasted long enough for Anaheim goalie John Gibson to slowly skate down to the red line. By the time order was restored, Domingue and Gibson exchanged words. Gibson appeared to be challenging Domingue to fight, saying, “Let’s go.”
“I don’t know why (Perry) got so mad at me,” Domingue said. “He hit me in the head. You can’t do that.
“But you can’t let that stuff take away from an entire game. You still have to play after.”
Gibson received a 10-minute misconduct penalty, to go along with Perry’s two-minute goalie interference penalty. Arizona quickly cashed in, Christian Fischer scoring off Brendan Perlini’s assist.
But that was Arizona’s last hurrah. Perry felt the dust-up ignited the Ducks.
“That’s kind of when things started to change and we got emotionally involved in the hockey game,” Perry said. “Before that I don’t think we were doing a whole lot. We were standing around and watching them play.”
Perry got a measure of revenge with his second goal, taking Rakell’s pass and deflecting it past Domingue. Thirty-one seconds later, Ondrej Kase pulled Anaheim back within one and it was a new game.
“There was a little scrum there and all of a sudden all of the momentum turns,” said Arizona’s Alex Goligoski, who assisted on the Coyotes’ first two goals. “I think we just lost focus for a little bit and it spiraled out of control. Good teams don’t do that.”
The Ducks started the season without five players they expected to dress (Ryan Miller, Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Ryan Kesler, Patrick Eaves) and then learned at the morning skate they would be without first-line center Ryan Getzlaf, out with a lower-body injury. He suffered the injury in practice last week. . Friday was the first time the Ducks opened the season at home since 2009. It was only their fifth season opener in their 24 years. . Arizona rookie Clayton Keller, 19, scored his first career goal to give the Coyotes their 2-0 lead. . The three-goal comeback was Anaheim’s first since March 31, 2014 vs. Winnipeg. … It was the NHL head coaching debut for Tocchet, 53, who spent the past three seasons as an assistant with the Penguins.
Coyotes: Host Philadelphia on Saturday night.
Ducks: Host Vancouver on Saturday night.