GLENDALE -- Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue did not want the 2016-17 season to end. That's because Domingue finished the year on a roll, winning six of his final seven starts.
"I think it was a two-part season," said Domingue, who played in 31 games as Mike Smith's backup. "The start was a little tougher. I had to adjust to a lot of new things and experiences. Once I settled in and found my groove, I think it went very well."
Domingue was thrust into the starting role for a month after Smith suffered a knee injury in the third game of the season. The 24-year-old struggled with consistency during that time, but in the final six weeks of the season he thrived as the backup, and with his success came more opportunity. He played in nine of the team's final 23 games and started three of the last six. In his penultimate start, he made a career-high 45 saves in a victory over high-powered Washington.
"Everybody wanted me to work hard and that is the biggest thing," Domingue said of his turnaround. "It's easy to say, but it's not actually easy to learn how to work the right way. I learned that this year - to work the right way."
Domingue finished the season with an 11-15-1 record, a 3.08 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage. He posted a .934 save percanetage in his 11 wins.
"He finished very well," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "… With goaltenders confidence is a big thing … and he spent probably over half the year dwelling on not playing very well. I think once he got to the point where he just got in there and got to work and played, the last part of the season, he played very well."
Domingue said his season started to turn for the better, ever so slightly, on Jan. 7 when he made 27 saves and the Coyotes defeated the New York islanders in a shootout. The victory, Domingue's first in nearly two months, snapped the team's nine-game losing streak and gave him some confidence.
"It was a big relief to win that game because when you go through tough times you're always worried about the next game," Domingue said.
Despite that victory, Domingue lost his next four starts, and after the fourth, in which he gave up five goals to Dallas on Feb. 24, he challenged himself to improve.
"I've got to turn this around right away because (if not) I'm going to be out of the League," Domingue told reporters that night.
His self-imposed threat worked; he lost just once after that Dallas game, and in that loss he stopped 40 of 42 shots vs. the St. Louis Blues.
Video: Louis Domingue discusses his season, the future
Domingue notched his signature victory of the season on March 14 at Los Angeles. Playing his first regular-season game at the Staples Center since being drafted there in 2010, Domingue stopped 44 of 46 shots through overtime and then 10 of 11 shots faced in a marathon shootout. The Coyotes won, 3-2, after trailing 1-0 and 2-1.
"Los Angeles is kind of a place where dreams come true for people," Domingue said. "Every time I have been there, I get that vibe in the town that always gets me. Even when I first got drafted there, and then we went to play the exhibition games, it's always a place I felt comfortable playing in. Going into that game I didn't really have expectations, but everything seemed to work out. Sometimes when you're a goalie you really think you are going to win that game, and I thought we were going to come back and win the game."