GLENDALE – Captain Shane Doan made his long-awaited return to the lineup on Saturday night as the Coyotes rallied from a 4-1 deficit to earn a point against the Carolina Hurricanes at Gila River Arena.
Doan, who missed nine games because of a lower-body injury, logged 18:07 of ice time, had one shot on goal and delivered three hits. His biggest contribution, however, came with 1:08 left in regulation when he used his stick to disrupt Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm as he skated in to score an empty-net goal that would given Carolina a 5-3 lead. Instead, Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy scored with 15.7 seconds left to push the game into overtime.
The Hurricanes won, 5-4, when Viktor Rask scored at 0:53 of overtime.
“Overall I felt OK, but I’m disappointed we didn’t get the win,” Doan said after the game. “…I felt fine at the end of the game. I was excited to be out there and excited to have a chance to help out.”
Doan was plus-2 in the game but said he was displeased that he missed some shots; four of his other shots were blocked.
“There were times that I missed three of four shots that obviously you can’t afford to miss,” Doan said. “You can’t put yourself in the position to get a shot and then miss it. You can’t do that, especially when guys are giving you good opportunities.”
Murphy said having Doan back in the lineup was a huge plus for the Coyotes.
“He’s huge,” Murphy said. “It’s such a big difference not having him out there. You can tell the difference and presence of him being on the bench and talking and getting gets riled up when we’re getting behind, and keeping us going when we’re on top. He’s such a great captain and someone that we really miss when he’s not in.”
• The Coyotes issued a Coach’s Challenge regarding Rask’s game-winning goal. The contention was that the Hurricanes were off-side on the play.
Here’s the official ruling from the NHL:“At 0:53 of overtime in the Hurricanes/Coyotes game, the Situation Room initiated a review under the terms of a Coach’s Challenge to examine whether Carolina was off-side prior to Victor Rask's goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that the Hurricanes entered the attacking zone legally prior to the goal.
Therefore the original call stands – good goal Carolina Hurricanes.”
• Max Domi has assisted on six of Anthony Duclair’s 10 goals this season. The rookies, who are good pals, are tied for the second most goals among NHL freshmen.
• Forward Viktor Tikhonov assisted on Duclair’s second goal. It was his first point since re-joining the Coyotes via the waiver wire on Dec. 6 and his first NHL assist since March 30, 2009, also with the Coyotes.
• Murphy, who was recently a healthy scratch for three games, was thrilled to score the game-tying goal in the third period.
“I was happy,” Murphy said. “I don’t score a lot so even if that was the only goal we scored I would have been happy. (I was in the) right place, right time. It’s always nice to (score) but I would have been happier with the win.”
• To make room for Doan on the roster, the Coyotes placed goalie Mike Smith on the injured reserve list retroactive to Dec. 8.
Smith is nursing a lower-body injury that he tweaked in a recent practice.
“He is going to get some tests in the next couple of days and we will revisit things this week sometime,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said.
• Center Martin Hanzal missed his third consecutive game because of a lower-body injury.