Max Comtois' parents weren't able to make it out to San Jose on Wednesday to witness his NHL debut and first career NHL goal. So what did the 19-year-old give his parents in attendance tonight at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona? Another unforgettable goal.
It had a similar look to the one he scored just 49 seconds into the season opener in San Jose, with Comtois racing into the offensive zone with a full head of steam. This time, however, his goal against the Arizona Coyotes came with just 31.4 seconds remaining in the second period and served as the game's lone goal in a 1-0 Ducks victory on Saturday night. The goal broke open a scoreless tie and improved Anaheim's record to 2-0-0 to start the 2018-19 season.
"He's definitely brought a lot of energy," said defenseman Cam Fowler. "All of our young players are expected to make a big impact on our team early. They've done a great job of that. That was a big goal for our club. Luckily it held up."
With two goals in his first two career NHL games, Comtois became the first Ducks player since defenseman Alex Grant (2013-14) to accomplish the feat. Comtois is here because he earned the roster spot out of training camp. He was dominant in the Las Vegas tournament during rookie camp in September and proved he could go toe-to-toe with the big boys in the preseason. His skillset and ability to score have been proven in juniors, where he most recently posted 85 points (44g/41a) in 54 games with the Victoriaville Tigres of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season.
His goal was all the offense the Ducks would need, as John Gibson delivered yet another stellar performance in net for his 17th career shutout. The 25-year-old netminder turned aside 41 shots, including a tremendous sequence in the final two minutes of regulation when the Ducks were forced to kill off a two-man advantage after Jakob Silfverberg went off for a delay-of-game penalty at the 18-minute mark and Carter Rowney was tagged for high sticking with just one minute left on the clock.
"He's been incredible," said Fowler. "All the saves he's made. He's the reason why we have four points right now. He's been our best player by far."
"We've been executing defensively pretty well," said Gibson. "We stick to our game plan on the penalty kill, and kept them to the outside pretty much. They're going to get a shot, and that's when they need me. I was there to do that."
Not everyone came away unscathed, however. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf exited the game early in the third period with what appeared to be a lower-body injury. Getzlaf immediately made his way to the locker room and did not return.
The Ducks will open the 2018-19 home schedule this Monday at Honda Center against the Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m.) in a rematch of Anaheim's inaugural game on the same date in 1993. Ducks fans are encouraged to arrive early for the Home Opener, particularly to take part in the red carpet festivities beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Honda Center's south side.