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'Yotes Notes: Michalek Makes Season Debut

Defenseman Zbynek Michalek blocked three shots in his first game with Arizona this season

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

Defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who has played the second most games in Coyotes history, made his season debut with the team on Monday night.

Michalek, 34, skated 15:55, blocked three shots and delivered three hits for Arizona, which lost to Nashville, 3-1, at Bridgestone Arena.

Michalek did not make the Coyotes roster out of training camp this season and, until Sunday, had been playing in the American Hockey League. Arizona recalled him from the AHL to provide depth on the blue line as it plays out the season.

"It was fun," Michalek said after the game. "... I tried to enjoy it as much as I could. It was exciting. Too bad we couldn't get a win, but I'm happy to get a game under my belt and happy to be back in the NHL."

Michalek has played 610 games for the Coyotes. Only captain Shane Doan has played more (1,536).

Michalek said he was pleasantly surprised when he was told the Coyotes had recalled him.

"I couldn't be any happier, and I just want to enjoy it," Michalek said. "Who knows how many more games I've got (in the NHL), so I just want to enjoy every single one." 

Michalek said he approached playing in the AHL as if it was the NHL.

"I still like to play," Michalek said. "I still enjoy it, I still compete. The minute the puck drops it doesn't matter where you play, I still want to do my best and help the team, and be kind of a leader for the young guys down there and lead by example. I did my best and I hope they were happy with me there."

Video: Michalek on playing his first NHL game of the season

• Monday's defeat mathematically eliminated the Coyotes, who have 10 games left, from the race to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored Arizona's lone goal, on a power play with 3:55 left in the third period.

With the goal, Ekman-Larsson moved into a tie with Fredrik Olausson for most power-play goals by a defenseman in franchise history (40).

Video: Oliver Ekman-Larsson discusses Coyotes' loss to Preds

Ekman-Larsson's goal, his first since Feb. 2, ended a goal-scoring drought by Arizona that lasted 123:35.

"We're not generating enough," Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "You always want to generate more, but you've got to capitalize on a few of them, too. Last game we had a breakaway, and we didn't capitalize. Tonight we had some 2-on-1s that didn't amount to enough for us. Those opportunities, when you get the opportunities to bear down and put them in the net, are a big factor." 

• With goalie Mike Smith on the bench for an extra attacker late in the third period, defenseman Connor Murphy made a nice play with his stick near center ice to block a shot attempt by Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.

• Forward Radim Vrbata played his 500th game as a member of the Coyotes.

• Doan missed a second consecutive game because of a lower-body injury he suffered in last Thursday's game vs. Detroit.

• The Coyotes have lost six consecutive games played vs. Nashville at Bridgestone Arena.

• Tippett said he'd most likely start backup goalie Louis Domingue in net on Tuesday when the Coyotes play at Tampa Bay.

Video: Dave Tippett discusses Coyotes' loss to Preds

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