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‘Yotes Notes: Doan Inches Closer to Record for Assists

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

Captain Shane Don notched an assist on Tuesday night in Arizona’s 6-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. It was one of only a few positives for the Coyotes in an otherwise lackluster game.

Doan’s assist, which he notched on Brad Richardson’s third-period goal, was the 19th of the season for Doan and the 549th of his NHL career – all with the Coyotes/Jets franchise. With two games left in the season, Doan needs just one more helper to tie Dale Hawerchuk for second place on the franchise’s all-time assists list, and three more to tie Thomas Steen for first place.

• Center Antoine Vermette received a nice ovation from the Chicago fans during a break in the first period when a “Welcome Back” message to Vermette was posted on the Jumbotron above center ice. Vermette, of course, helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup last season after going to Chicago from the Coyotes in a late-season trade.

“It’s always going to be a special,” Vermette said of his time with the Blackhawks. “…We had an intense couple of months. I’m always going to cherish that and it’s always going to be part of me.”

In a bizarre twist, Vermette received a five-minute major penalty and a game-misconduct penalty for boarding Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov at 10:38 of the second period.

Vermette told reporters he did not intentionally board Anisimov and that he even tried to help break his fall after they collided. Anisimov left the game and did not return.

“Obviously I don’t mean to hurt anyone,” Vermette said. “…I feel bad. I hope he’s OK.”

The Blackhawks scored twice during the five-minute power play to take a 5-0 lead and put the game out of reach.

“I didn’t think that was a five-minute major if you look at it close,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “I’ve always been a believer of the player that gets hit has got to take some accountability also. ‘Vermy’ kind of let up on him, but their player turned back into ‘Vermy.’ When a player is coming that quick behind you and you turn back into him, there’s going to be a collision. It probably should have been a minor (penalty), but I didn’t think it was a major.”

• Trailing 5-0, defenseman Connor Murphy wristed a shot from the right point through traffic and past Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling at 3:57 of the third period. The goal was Murphy’s sixth of the season. Forward Jiri Sekac, one of four former Blackhawks in Arizona’s lineup, assisted on the goal.

Murphy said the Coyotes simply did not come to play.

“With the effort we had tonight we probably would have lost against any team,” Murphy said. “It’s frustrating but we still have two games left.”

• Richardson knocked home a rebound from in close for his 11th goal of the season at 13:27 of the third period. The goal was his 30th point of the season, and it’s the first time he’s reached that milestone in his 11-year NHL career.

• Defenseman Nicklas Grossmann likely will re-join the team in Nashville. He missed the past two games so he could be in Arizona for the birth of his daughter.

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