GLENDALE -- Defenseman Kevin Connauton, whom Arizona claimed off waivers on Wednesday, made his debut with the Coyotes on Saturday afternoon in a 2-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils at Gila River Arena.
Partnered with Zbynek Michalek, Connauton logged 14:06 of ice time, took two shots on goal, delivered four hits and blocked one shot in his first NHL game since Dec. 29 with Columbus.
“It’s a fun group to play with,” Connauton said. “We’ve got fast, skilled forwards so I was just trying to move the puck up to them. I’m still learning the structure a little bit on certain things.”
Head Coach Dave Tippett liked what he saw from Connauton, except for a delay-of-game penalty he took late in the first period.
“I thought he was alright,” Tippett said. “(He was) a little jittery early and fired one in the stands, but he passed the puck well and got up the ice well, so it was a good start for him.”
• Goalie Anders Lindback also played his first game since Dec. 29 and didn’t get much work; he stopped 14 of 16 shots he faced.
“You just try to stay positive,” Lindback said about his seven-game stint as the backup behind Louis Domingue since his last start. “I worked on my game. I had a good feeling coming in tonight, unfortunately that didn’t turn out good.”
Tippett said although Lindback played OK, Domingue would start on Monday at home vs. Buffalo.
“Louis has played well,” Tippett said. “We just wanted to give him a few days off here and give him a little bit of a mental rest.”
As for Lindback’s performance vs. New Jersey, Tippett said: “It’s hard when you didn’t give him any support with goals and he stands back there for long stretches and doesn’t get any work.”
• The Coyotes had 38 shots on goal but an eye-popping 96 total shot attempts, their most since 2012 according to FOX Sports Arizona.
“We missed a lot of nets,” Tippett said. “They blocked a lot of shots. Territorially, we dominated that game but we didn’t do enough to win.”
• Forward Steve Downie returned to the lineup for the first time since Jan. 2 – a span of five games. He played 7:12.
• With the loss, Arizona dropped to 7-11-3 vs. Eastern Conference teams and 2-7-2 vs. Metropolitan Division teams.