The Anaheim Ducks came into Monday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes riding a four-game winning streak that had vaulted them from last place in the Pacific Division into the wild card conversation. Against the Coyotes, the Ducks had total control Monday, but they watched it slip away.
Within seven minutes of puck drop, the Ducks had notched two goals — one from Chris Stewart on the power play and Ryan Kelser’s first of the year — but were unable to extend the lead to three heading into the dressing room after the first frame. In the second period, the pesky Coyotes, who have exceeded expectations so far, got a goal from Anthony Duclair early to draw within one. Then Max Domi netted his sixth and seventh markers of the year to push the Coyotes into the lead.
With Anaheim chasing the game, defenseman Sami Vatanen would draw the score even and send the game to overtime before Ryan Getzlaf made a play that helped end the game in the extra frame. Unfortunately for Getzlaf, though, that play benefitted Arizona and Mikkel Boedker, not Getzlaf’s Ducks:
The miscommunication in the neutral zone is painful to watch, especially because Getzlaf never would have wound so slowly and patiently toward the Coyotes’ zone if the plan wasn’t to move the puck to teammate Corey Perry. But Getzlaf’s error was Boedker’s chance to dazzle.
In just one or two strides, Boedker had built up enough speed to beat out the hard back-check from Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler. The hands on Boedker are great on his overtime-winner, too. Even though he bobbles the puck and almost loses it, Boedker dips his shoulders just enough to get Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen to commit to his glove side, and then Boedker swings it around before tucking it in past Andersen’s outstretched pad.
For Boedker, the goal was his first game-winner of the year, but more importantly has him on an incredible 70-point pace for the season. Through 14 games, he has five goals and 12 points while taking top-line minutes in Arizona.
In the off-season, the Coyotes inked the 25-year-old right winger to a one-year, $3.75-million deal. The one-year contract gives Boedker a chance to prove he’s worth the big salary he’s after, and through the first month of the season, he’s making a great case for himself offensively.