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'Yotes Notes: Hanzal Delivers Game-Winning Goal

Center Martin Hanzal scored in overtime on Saturday vs. Sharks

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

GLENDALE - Martin Hanzal told a few reporters on Saturday morning that in order to get out of an offensive slump, the Coyotes needed to get more shots on goal and more traffic in front of the net. 

"That's how you score and that's how we will score," Hanzal said after the morning skate. 

His prediction was correct. 

Hanzal deflected a shot by teammate Alex Goligoski past San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones at 1:16 of overtime on Saturday night to lift the Coyotes to a 3-2 win at Gila River Arena.

"I was all by myself, so I had a lot of time to direct it," Hanzal said of his goal, the 22nd game-winner of his career.

Video: SJS@ARI: Hanzal nets OT game-winner on deflection

Hanzal was pleased that Arizona snapped a four-game winless streak, but he felt the Coyotes could have played much better in front of goalie Mike Smith, who made 43 saves.

San Jose out-shot the Coyotes 17-4 in the first period.

"The whole team didn't really work hard enough so we were lucky that we were up for most of the game," Hanzal said. "We'll take it but we have to get better. It wasn't good enough. I don't think we had a very good start, even though we were up 1-0 during the first. Smith was amazing tonight and that's what did it." 

Video: Martin Hanzal discusses Coyotes' OT win over Sharks

Head Coach Dave Tippett agreed with Hanzal. 

"We got some breaks and we got a 2-0 lead and were able to hang around," Tippett said. "Mike Smith was the reason we were in the game … We were under siege a little bit. We've got a lot of young players that are learning some hard lessons here. We're relying on some of those veterans to get through games and tonight, you could tell it was wearing down on them a little bit."

Video: Dave Tippett discusses Coyotes' OT win over Sharks

• Smith upped his record against San Jose to 11-7-2 with the victory, his second of the season and his first since missing a month because of a lower-body injury.

"I'm well rested so I should be up for a game like that," Smith said. "I've played them a ton of times and I know they're going to be throwing everything at the net. It's kind of one of those games where if you're sleeping at all you're going to get exposed."

The Coyotes hosted its annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night on Saturday. With that in mind, Smith dedicated his performance to his two-year-old niece, Elle, who is battling leukemia, and to his aunt Mary, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Video: Mike Smith discusses Coyotes 3-2 OT win over Sharks

• Forward Tobias Rieder returned to the lineup after missing Thursday's game because of a lower-body injury. Rieder played 21:50, took four shots on goal and scored Arizona's first goal on its first shot at 1:55 of the first period. 

Max Domi gave Arizona a 2-0 lead at 7:53 of the second period by scoring his second goal of the season and his first vs. San Jose in seven games. 

Radim Vrbata assisted on Hanzal's game-winning goal. With the assist, Vrbata became the 16th player in franchise history to record 300 points with the team. 

• Forward Brad Richardson still is in Vancouver after undergoing successful surgery for multiple broken bones in his right leg on Friday.

Tippett said Richardson likely would stay in Vancouver for a few more days before returning to Arizona.

Given the severity of his injury, it seems unlikely Richardson would return to action this season. But Tippett is hesitant to make that declaration until Richardson returns to Arizona and the team doctors fully review his case.

"It would be wrong to put a time period here yet until we get all the facts," Tippett said. 

• Rookie Lawson Crouse missed Saturday's game because of an upper-body injury. He is considered day-to-day. Without Crouse in the lineup, the Coyotes opted to use just 11 forwards and seven defensemen.

• Center Ryan White fought Sharks forward Micheal Haley on the ensuing face-off after Rieder's goal in the first period. White and Haley also fought when the Coyotes and Sharks played on Nov. 1. 

• Referee Francois St. Laurent left the game in the first period due to illness and did not return. The game continued with one referee and two linesmen. 

• General Manager John Chayka issued the following statement regarding Craig Cunningham, the captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team's affiliate in the American Hockey League:
 
"Arizona Coyotes center Craig Cunningham suffered a medical emergency on the ice prior to the start of tonight's game between the Tucson Roadrunners and the Manitoba Moose at the Tucson Convention Center. Cunningham was taken to a local hospital where he is receiving medical treatment. Our thoughts and prayers are with Craig and his family. We will provide a medical update once we receive more information."

Cunningham, 26, played 29 games for the Coyotes from 2014-16. He was drafted 97th overall by Boston in 2010.

"All I can say is as a group in here, we're thinking about him and his family," Smith said. "Our thoughts and prayers are going out to them."

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