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Mistakes cost Ducks in 4-2 loss to Coyotes

Anaheim's home opener ends in defeat thanks to penalties and costly turnovers.

October 13, 2008|Dan Arritt | Times Staff Writer

Up against the youngest team in the NHL, the Ducks seemed to be the ones battling nerves Sunday night.

For the second straight game, Anaheim was haunted by costly turnovers and lacked basic execution, laying the groundwork for a 4-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in the Ducks' home opener at the Honda Center.

"The frustration level seems to go up early for our group," Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said. "We just seem to be turning the puck over far, far too many times."

The Ducks had 13 giveaways compared with five for the Coyotes, who came into the game with 11 players age 22 or younger.

Two of their rookies, Mikkel Boedker and Kyle Turris, scored their first NHL goals, helping put the Ducks in a three-goal hole midway through the second period.

"We're just not where we need to be mentally," defenseman Scott Niedermayer said. "We're working, but we're not working smart and in the wrong place at the wrong time."

That was clearly evident in the first two goals for Phoenix.

On the first, Ducks defenseman Kent Huskins chose to check Todd Fedoruk along the boards near the blue line, rather than give ground. Huskins was knocked off his skates in the collision, leaving him out of position for the ensuing two-on-one breakaway.

"That's really a huge no-no from a coaching perspective," Carlyle said. "With our system, we don't play that way. We don't pinch on the strong side."

With Huskins trailing the play, Steven Reinprecht carried the puck into Anaheim's defensive zone and slid it over to Boedker, the eighth overall pick in June's draft. Boedker cut across the crease and scored on the stick side of goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere at the 11:40 mark of the opening period.

On the Coyotes' second goal, Phoenix defenseman Kurt Sauer gathered the puck along the boards in his defensive end and slid it ahead at neutral ice to Reinprecht, who flipped the puck ahead to Shane Doan, who was three strides behind the last defenseman, Chris Pronger. Doan easily beat Giguere on his stick side again for a 2-0 lead at the 1:51 mark of the second period. Pronger indicated that he thought he had help on the play.

"We've got to support one another better, and talk," Pronger said. "The game is still verbal, and you've got to let everybody know where you're at out there."

Huskins, who is taking on a more prominent role this season after fellow defensemen Mathieu Schneider and Sean O'Donnell were traded during the preseason, finished with a minus-two rating and committed two penalties that led to power plays.

Huskins was whistled for delay of game at the 6:54 mark of the second period after his clearing pass sailed over the glass, leading to the Coyotes' first power play.

The Ducks nearly scored a short-handed goal when Travis Moen got loose on a breakaway, but he was stopped by Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, the former Duck who was claimed off waivers last November.

Bryzgalov's save led to a five-on-three heading the other direction and the Coyotes capitalized, as Turris scored just as Huskins was exiting the penalty box.

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