ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Nick Cousins and company took a deep breath.
The first goal is on the board. The first win is in the books.
Cousins scored in the shootout, Antti Raanta made 23 saves and the Arizona Coyotes beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on Wednesday night for their first win.
Dylan Strome and Brad Richardson scored for Arizona (1-2), which dropped its first 11 games last season.
“It’s huge. Because of what happened last year it is a big relief,” Cousins said. “I think it relieves some pressure.”
The Coyotes got their first goal this season when Strome converted a power-play opportunity with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first. They were the last NHL team to score.
“I just looked and there was a lot of relief. We didn’t want to go another period without scoring a goal,” Strome said.
Coach Rick Tocchet also looked relieved that he didn’t have to answer any more questions about when his team was going to get its first victory.
“We are going to enjoy the win,” he said. “We have some work to do, but there was a lot of chances on both teams tonight, especially early on.”
Anaheim was trying for the first 4-0 start in franchise history. Ryan Kesler and Ben Street scored for the Ducks (3-0-1), and John Gibson made 37 saves.
“We didn’t manage the puck properly in some areas,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “We had people on the wrong side of it in some of the battles.”
Kesler returned to the lineup after missing the first three games. The center had hip surgery in June 2017 and played in only 44 games last season.
Kesler centered the third line and scored on his third shift 5:52 into the first period. He battled for the puck in front of the Arizona goal before firing it past Raanta to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead.
“To be able to score that goal that early on in the game definitely feels really good,” Kesler said. “Everything I went through for the past year and a half, it hasn’t been fun. I had fun out there tonight.”
Street’s goal at 14:39 of the second period was his first in the NHL. At 31 years and 240 days, he is the oldest player to score his first NHL goal with Anaheim in the 25-year history of the franchise.
NOTES: The Ducks have allowed only six goals in their first four games, which is the lowest total in franchise history. … Anaheim’s Andrew Cogliano has an assist in two straight games. … It was Arizona’s longest goal drought to open a season, more than doubling the 67:11 mark at the start of the 1996-97 season. … Two of the six goals Anaheim has allowed this season were short-handed. The Ducks and Flyers are the only teams to have allowed two so far this season. … Arizona’s Derek Stepan played in his 600th NHL game. He is the ninth player from the 2008 draft class and first non-first round pick to reach that milestone.
Coyotes: Return home to face Buffalo on Saturday before embarking on a four-game road trip.
Ducks: Have back-to-back road games beginning on Saturday against Dallas.
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