GLENDALE – Defenseman Connor Murphy returned to the Coyotes lineup on Friday night after sitting and watching his teammates play three games without him as a healthy scratch.
Murphy logged a season-high 22:34 of ice time and delivered a game-high six hits as Arizona beat Minnesota, 2-1, in overtime at Gila River Arena.
“I tried to play with more of an edge and more authority,” Murphy said. “I just wanted to make a little bit of a statement that I can be the competitor that I’ve been before. I think I got away from that and they let me know that. Other parts of my game, the offensive stuff, will come along, but the foundation of my game has to be defending hard and I think I did better with that tonight.”
The Coyotes killed all four of Minnesota’s power plays and Murphy led the team with 5:17 of short-handed ice time.
“Obviously we took a lot of penalties that we could have avoided,” Murphy said. “But we were able to get the win in front of our home crowd. That gives us some momentum. We just have to make sure that we get back on the right track.”
Murphy is eager to keep playing as the team continues this six-game homestand on Saturday vs. Carolina.
“I just have to make sure that I learn from the things in the past that caused me to sit out,” Murphy said. “I want to make sure that I help the team every night. I don’t want to be part of the problem. I want to be more a part of the solution, helping the team get wins.”
Head Coach Dave Tippett liked what he saw from Murphy.
“'Murph’ was all right tonight,” Tippett said. “He competed hard.”
• With Friday's win, his 502nd, Tippett passed Pat Burns for 20th place on the NHL’s all-time wins list among head coaches.
• Center Antoine Vermette led the team with fours shots on goal and three takeaways, and he we won 19 of 26 face-offs.
• Forward Mikkel Boedker has scored six goals in 20 games vs. Minnesota.
• Rookie Max Domi left the game for three-plus minutes late in the third period after he was hit in the face by a deflected shot in front of Minnesota’s goal. Domi crumbled to the ice after the puck struck him, but he quickly got up, skated to the bench and then departed for medical attention in the dressing room. He returned with a bloodied wad of cotton stuffed in his right nostril, but he did not get back into the game which ended just 34 seconds into overtime.
• Forward Viktor Tikhonov played 15:23 in his first regular-season game in Glendale since the 2008-09 season finale.
• Captain Shane Doan missed his ninth straight game because of a nagging lower-body injury. He remains on the injured reserve list.
Meanwhile, center Martin Hanzal missed his second consecutive game because of a lower-body injury. He, too, is on IR.
And goalie Mike Smith did not dress for the game because of a lower-body injury. Like Hanzal, Smith will not dress for Saturday’s game vs. Carolina.