Ducks Edge Coyotes 2-1 in Eakins’ Debut

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Cam Fowler scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second period, John Gibson made 32 saves and the Anaheim Ducks beat the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Thursday night in Dallas Eakins’ debut as coach.

Fowler skated around a pair of Arizona defenders and lofted a wrist shot that beat Darcy Kuemper on his glove side with 32 seconds remaining in the second. Derek Grant also scored for the Ducks, who have won three straight season openers.

Eakins was hired during the off-season after coaching the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego for four seasons. This is Eakins’ second stint in the NHL after two-plus seasons with Edmonton (2013-15).

San Diego Gulls coach Dallas Eakins
Dallas Eakins as coach of the San Diego Gulls (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Lenny Ignelzi)

Derek Stepan had Arizona’s goal while Kuemper stopped 27 shots.

Grant opened the scoring at 14:32 of the first when he knocked in the rebound after Devin Shore was stopped on a breakaway. Kuemper stopped Shore’s shot with his left skate but wasn’t in position to stop the Anaheim forward’s tip-in.

Arizona evened it at 1 when Stepan went top shelf to beat Gibson at 9:03 of the second period. Phil Kessel got his first point for the Coyotes when he fed Stepan to his left and he buried a one-timer on a wrist shot for his fifth opening night goal.

Kessel, who was acquired from Pittsburgh during the off-season, played in his 775th consecutive game, the second-longest active streak in the league.


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Joe Reedy, The Associated Press