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'Yotes Notes: Domi Returns After Eight Weeks

Forward Max Domi played vs. Chicago on Thursday night

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

GLENDALE -- Eight weeks after breaking a bone in one of his hands during a fight, forward Max Domi returned to the Coyotes lineup on Thursday night.

Domi played 12:51 and delivered two hits in his first game back, a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at Gila River Arena.

"I've been out for two months so you're not the same player as when you left," Domi said. "The first couple of shifts were tough ... The team's been playing great the last few games. I'll just try to jump in and help out as much as possible wherever I can."

Asked if he was at full strength, Domi said: "All's good."

Domi suffered his injury while swapping punches with Garnet Hathaway of the Calgary Flames in a game played Dec. 8.

Video: Max Domi discusses his return to the Coyotes' lineup

Head Coach Dave Tippett thinks it will take Domi a few games to regain his form.

"It'll take him some time to get back up and going at full speed again," Tippett said before the game. "That goes with any injury of this length. It's just part of the process."

• Goalie Mike Smith, who stopped 22 of 26 shots, set a new franchise record for career saves. Smith entered the game trailing Bob Essensa's record of 8,055 saves by 13. He passed Essensa in the second period, and is now the franchise leader with 8,064.

• Playing with Shane Doan and Brendan Perlini, Christian Dvorak notched a goal and an assist on Thursday, his 21st birthday. It was just the second multi-point game of his NHL career. 

Trailing 3-1, Dvorak and Perlini, both rookies, scored their goals within a 1:27 span of the second period.

"There is a lot of speed on our line and we started to use that, started to move our feet, started to make some plays," Dvorak said. "We got a couple bounces to get us back in the game, but it was a little too late."

Video: Christian Dvorak discusses Coyotes' loss to Hawks

Dvorak was raised in Illinois and rooted for the Blackhawks as a child.

"It was kind of funny because I watched the Hawks all the time when I was a young kid and then I was obviously playing them on my 21st birthday," Dvorak said. "It was pretty cool."

Dvorak has produced five goals and 10 assists in 46 games.

"I think I'm just playing a full 200-foot game, making sure I'm always good defensively and all that," Dvorak said. "I'm starting to feel more confident out there and hopefully I can keep it going."

Tippett likes the progress Dvorak is making in his first NHL season.

"He's coming," Tippett said. "He makes smart plays. A lot of them go unnoticed, but he makes real smart plays and he has a nose for the net. His goals, I think three or four of them are off deflections, just like the one tonight."

Video: Dave Tippett discusses Coyotes' 4-3 loss to Hawks

• Perlini said the Coyotes were "embarrassed" they trailed 3-0 after one period.

"Almost everyone was like, 'Come on, we got way more than that,'" Perlini said. "We didn't roll over and just hand them the game. At least we battled back and made something of it and went right to the end." 

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored a five-on-three power-play goal at 1:36 of the second period to tie Dave Babych and Teppo Numminen (39 goals) for second place on the franchise's all-time power-play goals scored list for defensemen.

• Arizona out-hit Chicago, 46-8. Doan led all players with a season-high eight hits.

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