GLENDALE – Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the lone goal on Saturday night in Arizona’s 1-0 win over the New York Islanders at Gila River Arena.
It was the 20th game-winning goal of his NHL career and the most by any defenseman in franchise history. Teppo Numminen held the record before Ekman-Larsson with 19.
“I’ll take that,” Ekman-Larsson said with a smile after the game. “Obviously it was an early goal (but) it was the difference tonight.”
Ekman-Larsson scored his goal at 17:59 of the first period when he one-timed a pass from Anthony Duclair past Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak for his seventh goal of the season.
With 20 game-winning goals, Ekman-Larsson ranks 10th on the franchise’s list for all players. Shane Doan leads the way with 66.
• Center Martin Hanzal returned to the lineup after a four-game absence due to a lower-body injury.
Hanzal played 15:05 – about three minutes less than his average ice time. He took one shot on goal, delivered one hit and won 7 of 10 face-offs.
“We monitored his minutes a little, but he was strong,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “He was typical Marty.”
Tippett said he liked the defense Hanzal played vs. New York’s top line and the leadership Hanzal, Ekman-Larsson and Doan showed before and during this game after the humbling 7-5 loss to Columbus on Thursday.
“They made sure we were ready tonight and we need that,” Tippett said. “…Those guys need to be our players that push things along for us and they were all good in that sense tonight.”
• Goalie Louis Domingue (23 years, 9 months) is the youngest goalie to post a shutout in team history since Robert Esche (23 years, 1 month) blanked Carolina on Feb. 16, 2001.
Domingue said he learned he would play Saturday’s game on Friday and he was eager to play.
“I just came in ready, and luckily they (Frans Nielsen) hit the post on the first shot and things just went well from there,” Domingue said.
The win was the second of Domingue’s NHL career and his first on home ice.
Tippett said Domingue’s save on a short-handed breakaway by New York’s Casey Cizikas in the second period was the key play of the game and raised the spirits of everyone on Arizona’s bench.
“It was a save we needed,” Domingue said. “Every time you’re in a 1-0 game every save matters, whether it’s a shot from the wall or a breakaway.”
• Doan played his 1,417th game, tying Luke Richardson for 29th place on the NHL’s all-time games played list.
• Defenseman Connor Murphy delivered a team-high six hits and blocked three shots.
• Tippett on the team’s goaltending situation with Mike Smith out for 8-10 weeks and Domingue and Anders Lindback vying for playing time:
“Right now we’re in the position ‘you win, you’re in.’ That’s the mindset we’ve got right now. He won. He’s in.”