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‘Yotes Notes: Hanzal Sets Career-High for Points in a Season

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

Center Martin Hanzal notched Arizona’s lone goal on Thursday night in a 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

The goal, which Hanzal scored to cap a nifty, tic-tac-toe exchange with rookies Anthony Duclair and Max Domi at 17:07 of the first period, was Hanzal’s 13th of the season. It was also his 41st point of the season – a new career-high. Hanzal’s previous career-high for points in a season was 40 set in 2013-14.

The milestone was the silver lining in an otherwise forgettable game for Hanzal, who did not play beyond the first 20 minutes because of an upper-body injury. After the game, Head Coach Dave Tippett said Hanzal is day-to-day.

Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson also did not play because of illness and is considered day-to-day.

Rookie Max Domi said missing both alternate captains made playing against the Western Conference’s best team even more challenging.

“You’ve got to find a away to battle through (missing key players) and it’s opportunity for everyone else to try and step their game up and help the team win,” Domi said. “That’s a good hockey team over there. We just came up a little short tonight.”

• With the loss, the Coyotes officially were eliminated from the race to earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with five games to play.

“It’s unfortunate,” Tippett said. “We came in to this season with our goal of making the playoffs. We knew we were going to be a very young team and it was going to be an uphill battle, but what we said at the start of the year was this team has to grow this year, and from where we were last year we've got growth started. We're moving in the right direction.”

The Coyotes have earned 75 points so far this season. Last season they earned just 56 points.

• Goalie Mike Smith stopped 29 of 32 shots but told reporters he deserves a big chunk of the blame for the loss.

“We did some good things, but I wasn’t quite as sharp as I've been and it showed at the end on the scoreboard,” Smith said.

• Captain Shane Doan returned to the lineup after missing Monday’s game because of an upper-body injury he suffered in Saturday’s game vs. Philadelphia. Doan played 17:32 vs. Dallas and took a team-high four shots on goal and delivered a team-high four hits.

• Defenseman Alex Grant made his debut with the Coyotes after having been recalled from the American Hockey League on Monday. It was his third NHL game overall; he played two games with Anaheim in 2013. Grant played 14:08 vs. Dallas and took two shots on goal but neither went it. Thus, his NHL shooting percentage dropped from 100 percent (2 for 2) to 50 percent (2 for 4).

Grant also delivered a hard check to Stars defenseman John Klingberg late in the second period that led to a fight with Stars forward Colton Sceviour.

• Forward Eric Selleck also played his first game for the Coyotes after being recalled from the AHL on Wednesday. Selleck logged 9:33 of ice time and fought Stars defenseman Jordie Benn in the third period. Selleck appeared to injure a shoulder during the scrap, and he skated directly to the dressing room for medical attention instead of to the penalty box. There was no immediate update on his condition.

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