Coyotes open preseason with win over Kings, face Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night – The Arizona Republic

Coyotes fans hoping to see what some of the team’s new players have to offer got that, plus another September goal for Dylan Guenther, this year’s top draft pick, Monday night at Gila River Arena.

Loui Eriksson, who came over in the deal that also landed the Coyotes the ninth overall pick in July — which they used to select Guenther — also scored for Arizona in its 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.  

Starting goaltender Josef Kořenář, a contender for the backup job after coming over in a trade with the San Jose Sharks in the offseason, stopped 18 shots. His replacement for the third period, Anson Thornton, had 17 saves in a busy 20 minutes. 

“Both of them, they were really solid,” Coyotes head coach André Tourigny, on the bench for his first preseason game in his new position, said of his goalies. “Our young boy (Thornton, 18 years old) went in there in the third and maybe was a little bit nervous at the beginning. He adjusted really well and made key saves. He was tested and obviously we were protecting a lead and he did a really good job.” 

With six goaltenders and 43 skaters on the training camp roster, not everyone could play Monday. The 20 that were active included six new forwards, two new defenders, a new arrival in Kořenář and eight organizational prospects including Guenther. 

A new group of players figure to face the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday night in California in the Coyotes’ second preseason game. Among those who did not pay Monday were returning players Jakob Chychrun, Clayton Keller, Lawson Crouse and Johan Larsson, and newcomers Jay Beagle, Conor Timmins, Alex Galchenyuk (back for his second stint with the team on a professional tryout) and goalie Carter Hutton. 

Guenther scored three goals in the Rookie Faceoff series of games earlier this month, and scored the go-ahead goal at 9:21 of the third period after he’d gotten an assist on Eriksson’s second period goal that tied the game.

Guenther knocked down a Cam Crotty shot with his stick in front of the net, re-directing the puck into the net.

“I think it was traffic,” Tourigny said. “If you look at both goals, it was pucks on net with a lot of traffic in there with a rebound. I think that has to be part of our identity in the NHL. It’s the way you have to play. You need to get inside and you need to get in the dirty area and have that presence.”

Eriksson played just seven games with the Vancouver Canucks last season, though he was healthy.

“I felt pretty good. I mean, it’s been a while since I played a game,” the veteran forward said. “Of course, it’s the first game, there’s always things we can get better at, and it was nice that we won, and I mean, there’s only one game so far so we have things to do and get better at so that’s why we have these games.”

Both teams played  a scoreless first period, the Coyotes trying a number of different combinations on the power play and penalty kill units, with three opportunities for each thanks to six combined penalties. 

Los Angeles took a 1-0 lead on Sean Walker’s goal at 8:53 of the second period, amid some heavy traffic in front of Kořenář.

“I don’t know how the puck went in the net. I thought I had it like under my glove but then I saw the guys started cheering,” Kořenář said. 

Kořenář, from the Czech Republic, played 10 games with the Sharks last season. 

“It helps me probably a lot,” he said. “I’m still thinking like I already played at that level so it’s another game.”

Andrew Ladd was one of three Coyotes to wear the letter A on his jersey, along with longtime forward Christian Fischer and new defenseman Anton Stralman as alternate captains. Ladd, acquired from the New York Islanders for draft picks in July, became the first Coyotes player to drop the gloves and throw punches, drawing a five-minute penalty for fighting along with the Kings’ Cade McNelly in the second period. 

Tourigny has said he’d like the Coyotes veterans to each play four of the team’s six preseason games and make up the rest of the 20-man game night roster with young players and prospects that have earned the opportunity to play. 

Ice chip

The Coyotes on Tuesday announced the hiring of two former Coyotes players, David Oliver and Scott Pellerin, as pro scouts. Both have worked in various front offices since their NHL playing days. 

Get in touch with Jose Romero at Find him on Twitter at @RomeroJoseM.