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‘Yotes Notes: Gaudet Scores First NHL Goal in Win Over Stars

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – The rookies led the way for the Coyotes on Thursday night as they defeated the Dallas Stars, 6-3, at Gila River Arena.

Max Domi produced two goals and an assist, Anthony Duclair notched three assists, and Louis Domingue stopped 36 of 39 shots.

Rookie Tyler Gaudet also contributed to the resounding victory by scoring his first NHL goal at 9:14 of the third period to give the Coyotes a 5-3 lead.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” Gaudet said. “It’s such a huge relief to get that and it's very exciting, for sure.”

Gaudet, who was not drafted, scored his first NHL goal in his 10th NHL game.

“I’ve been feeling the opposite of pressure to score,” Gaudet said. “The more I played I felt I was getting closer and closer to scoring and I was feeling more comfortable. I’ve been going into the games telling myself, ‘I’m going to score, I’m going to score,’ and I kept being confident in that way. I’ve been trying to build on that and do the opposite of putting pressure on myself.”

Gaudet began the scoring play with a drop pass to forward Kyle Chipchura at the blue line. Chipchura sent the puck right back to Gaudet from the left wall and he re-took control of it in the left circle and skated in alone on Stars goalie Antti Niemi. The puck crossed the line between Niemi’s legs as Gaudet was falling into the right corner after tripping over Niemi.

“‘Chip’ had great poise with the puck and he made a great pass back to me and I just resorted to my normal breakaway move,” Gaudet said. “I like to go five-hole on the forehand and I got a lucky bounce and it went in.”

Gaudet, 22, said he plans to give the puck he scored the goal with to his parents.

“I’m not big on mementos and accolades,” Gaudet said. “I give most of my stuff to my parents. I’m really bad with stuff like that so I’ll give it to them. They like to hold on to that stuff.”

Head Coach Dave Tippett was pleased to see Gaudet rewarded for hard work, not only on Thursday night but all season.

“I thought Tyler was excellent,” Tippett said. “If you look at how hard that kid has worked to get to this level, to get rewarded with a goal, it’s great to see the look on his face. His teammates are all happy for him. Those are special moments.”

• Neither Domi nor Duclair had played the high-powered Dallas Stars before Thursday’s game.

Both loved the pace of the game.

“That was a big win,” Domi said. “It was fun out there. That's a fast team and we had to play fast to keep up with them.”

Domi, who went 14 games without scoring a goal, scored two within a 15:00 span of the second period. He has 15 goals and 24 assists this season and four multi-goal games.

For Duclair, it was the second three-point game and the first three-assist game of his NHL career. Duclair has notched five points in the past two games and 33 for the season.

“It was a run and gun game,” Duclair said. “…It's tough but we want to have the mentality of playing 82 games like that.”

• Arizona launched a season-high 42 shots on goal and tied a season-high with six goals – set Monday vs. Montreal. The last time the Coyotes scored 12-plus goals over two games was Dec. 3-5, 2005 (8-4 vs. Carolina, 5-2 vs. Atlanta).

• Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson assisted on Martin Hanzal’s goal in the third period for his 45th point of the season. That breaks his career-high of 44 points set last season.

• Hanzal’s goal at 7:20 of the third period was his 10th of the season and his fourth in the past five games.

• Goalie Mike Smith continues to recover from core muscle surgery in December, and he will accompany the team on its nine-day, five-game road trip that begins with a flight back east on Sunday morning.

“He’ll come on the trip with us next week,” Head Coach Dave Tippett told reporters on Thursday. “We’re hoping to get him back integrated into full practices (in) the next few days. The timeframe is hard to say. Once he gets back into full practices, then we’ll get a better read on where he’s at.”

Smith hasn’t played since Dec. 8. His return to action certainly would help the team’s push to the playoffs what with backup goalie Anders Lindback out for the season because an Achilles’ heel injury.

Louis Domingue has played well as the starter in Smith’s absence. Rookie Niklas Treutle, who has yet to play an NHL game, is Domingue’s backup at this critical time.

Meanwhile, center Boyd Gordon, who hasn’t played since Feb. 4 because of an upper-body injury, also may travel with the team on the long trip.

“As of right now, I think he will,” Tippett said. “He can’t do a lot of puck-handling right now. (He’ll go) just to keep his skating legs. When he’s able to start handling the puck, the bottom part of his body is set to go.”

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