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'Yotes Notes: Dvorak Scores First NHL Goal

Rookie Christian Dvorak netted goal vs. Nashville on Thursday

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

Christian Dvorak Q&A

Christian Dvorak discusses his first NHL goal

Coyotes rookie Christian Dvorak discusses his first NHL goal and the team's 3-2 shootout victory over Nashville on Thursday

  • 01:56 •

GLENDALE - Christian Dvorak became the third Coyotes rookie to notch his first NHL goal this season in Arizona's 3-2 shootout win over Nashville on Thursday night at Gila River Arena.

Dvorak scored a nifty, backhanded goal past Pekka Rinne at 9:17 of the first period to give Arizona a 1-0 lead. The 20-year-old forward took a pass from Ryan White at the top of the slot, skated to his right and around Preds defenseman Matt Irwin, and then lifted a shot that hit Rinne's glove and trickled into the net.

Video: NSH@ARI: Dvorak dances in to net first career goal

Dvorak also chipped in an assist on a goal scored by Anthony Duclair at 5:48 of the third period that pulled Arizona into a 2-2 tie. It's the first multi-point game of Dvorak's eight-game NHL career.

"It's a little bit of a relief," Dvorak said. "It's special to get the first NHL goal and it's nice to help the team win."

The Coyotes sent Dvorak to the American Hockey League on Monday but recalled him on Thursday because center Martin Hanzal is nursing a lower-body injury and sat out Thursday's game.

"I obviously had something to prove and I just want to keep doing better every day and help the team win, and I think I did that tonight," Dvorak said.

Head Coach Dave Tippett noticed a difference in Dvorak's game.

"He jumped out there and played a heck of a game," Tippett said. "We need that. That's the one thing he's been missing in his game … a little bit of that urgency and that jump where you notice him out there; tonight he had that."

Dvorak, who is from the Chicago area, was asked how scoring his first NHL goal compared to the Cubs winning the World Series the night before.

"It's been a very good 24 hours," Dvorak said with a smile. "I'd have to go with tonight but they've both been pretty cool for me." 

Jakob Chychrun and Lawson Crouse are the other Coyotes rookies who have notched their first NHL goals this season.

• It took him 10 games, but Duclair scored his first goal of the season. 

"It was bound to happen one game or another," Duclair said with a smile. "The thing for me was to not get frustrated and know it was coming ... It's been a bit of a challenge. It definitely felt like forever."

Duclair scored 20 goals last season as a rookie.

"You knew it was just a matter of time before he was going to capitalize on some (chances)," Tippett said. "He's coming. He had a heck of a backcheck to shut a play down and scored a heck of a goal. That's moving in the right direction. He's got to feel good about himself."

Duclair also added a shootout goal against Rinne for good measure. 

"I had a couple moves in mind, but I let him do the first move and I got him off guard on the back end," Duclair said.

Video: Anthony Duclair discusses the Coyotes' win over Preds

Radim Vrbata scored Arizona's other shootout goal to tie Frans Nielsen for the most in NHL history. Both players have 42.

Vrbata beat Rinne with a backhanded move Coyotes fans have seen many times.

"He tries a few other moves but he always seem to go back to the money one," Tippett said.

Louis Domingue made 35 saves, including six in overtime, to earn his second straight win. He said he was dehydrated late in the game and experienced cramps in the overtime. It wasn't a pretty win, he said, but it counts.

"We found a way to win tonight," Domingue said. "That's our identity. That's how we are. That's how we're going to win games this year. It's never going to be the prettiest games, but we're going to find ways."

Max Domi assisted on Duclair's goal and has produced 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in his past 20 games at Gila River Arena.

• Forward Tobias Rieder missed Thursday's game because of a lower-body injury he suffered blocking a shot vs. San Jose on Tuesday. 

Rieder, who had played 163 consecutive games since entering the NHL on Nov. 2, 2014, took part in about half of the warm-up, but it was decided he wasn't healthy enough to play. 

• With Hanzal out because of injury, forward Brad Richardson was selected to replace Hanzal as an alternate captain. Richardson entered the game leading the team with eight points (four goals, four assists).

• Tippett said Hanzal and defenseman Michael Stone, who also missed Thursday's game because of injury, likely won't play on Friday at Anaheim either.

• Goalie Mike Smith skated in full gear the past two days but isn't taking any shots.

"He looks fine out there skating, but there's just a couple movements that he's going to have to be able to get to before he starts stopping pucks," Tippett said.

Video: Domingue, Duclair lead Coyotes to 3-2 win

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