GLENDALE – The Coyotes salvaged a season-long seven-game homestand by beating the Los Angeles Kings, 3-2, on Saturday night at Gila River Arena.
The win was Arizona’s third in four tries over the Kings, who lead the Pacific Division; playing LA seems to bring out the best in the Coyotes.
“We recognize how good they are,” said captain Shane Doan, who notched one goal and one assist. “They’re dominating teams. They’re really giving it to the whole League. When they come in here we’re going to have to be at our best… It was big for us to stop what was going in the wrong direction. We finished the homestand 3-3-1, so it was a big game for us to win.”
• Doan played in his 1,432nd game, tying former teammate Mike Gartner for 25th place on the NHL’s all-time list for games played. He notched his team-leading 17th goal at 13:43 of the first period. Later, in third period, he assisted on Jordan Martinook’s goal at 0:22. With two points, he now has 925 and is just four shy of tying Dale Hawerchuk for the franchise lead.
Here’s Martinook’s take on the pass Doan made to set up his back-handed breakaway goal:
“‘Doaner’ and me have worked on that play numerous amounts of times in practice and we’ve tried it in games a few times. He just flipped it right where it needed to be… ‘Doaner’ is so good at that flip. Luckily, that time it worked.”
• The Coyotes scored the first goal of the game for the first time since Jan. 14 vs. Detroit.
“It was good to finally play with the lead,” goalie Louis Domingue said. “I’m real happy with the effort we made tonight. We can’t go wrong with that. We were aggressive, and we got to play in the offensive zone because we were so good defensively.”
• Leading 3-2, the Coyotes were able to keep the puck hemmed into the offensive zone for most of the final 2:00 of the game. Because of this, the Kings never got the chance to pull goalie Jonathan Quick for an extra attacker.
“We just had guys out there that were willing to hang on to the puck,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “(Tobias) Reider, (Boyd) Gordon, and (Antoine) Vermette did a really good job down low. They iced it a couple times, and it was the shift we needed to close it up.”
Martinook said the players on the bench were supporting their teammates on the ice.
“It kind of speaks volumes about the team we have when those guys are in there just doing their thing in the ‘O’ zone and the whole bench is on their feet and everybody is cheering,” Martinook said. “You just kind of realize what type of group we have when those guys are in there working as hard as they can to keep the puck down there.”
• Defenseman Michael Stone assisted on Doan’s goal to set a new career-high for helpers in a season with 16. He notched 15 last season in 81 games.
• Defenseman Jarred Tinordi played his first game for the Coyotes after being acquired via a trade with the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 15. Partnered with Zbynek Michalek, Tinordi logged 15:39, delivered two hits and blocked four shots in just his fourth NHL game this season.
• Defenseman Nicklas Grossmannn was scratched because of illness.
• Goalie Mike Smith continues to skate on his own about six weeks after core muscle surgery. Smith is on track to start practicing with teammates soon after the All-Star break.
On Saturday night, Smith, who is on injured reserve, was among those volunteering to answer calls as part of the Coyotes/FOX Sports Arizona’s telethon to help fund expansion at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
More than $65,000 were raised via the telethon.
“Those kids do things that have become normal for them that as adults we can’t do,” Doan said of the patients at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “If you can do anything or give anything to help them it’s pretty special. It’s pretty remarkable what they do there.”
CEO and President Anthony LeBlanc told FOX Sports Arizona he was “astounded” by the amount of money donated by Coyotes fans.