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'Yotes Notes: Pulkkinen Scores Goal in Arizona Debut

Forward Teemu Pulkkinen quickly contributed to his new team on Thursday

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

Forward Teemu Pulkkinen scored a goal in his first game with the Coyotes on Thursday night at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

The Sabres beat Arizona 6-3. 

Pulkkinen, whom Arizona acquired via trade with Minnesota on Monday, put the Coyotes ahead, 1-0, at 7:54 of the first period. His goal, a tap-in into a half-empty net, capped a speedy two-on-one rush with teammate Max Domi.

"It feels good to get a first game," said Pulkkinen, who hadn't played in an NHL match since Dec. 17. "It's good to get the first one, but the game wasn't there yet … It was a good play. It was a great pass to me backdoor. I was waiting for that. But, like I said, one goal is not enough. We lost the game. For myself, I have to be better."

Pulkinnen played 10:55 and took three shots on goal in his Arizona debut. His goal was the 13th of his NHL career in his 80th game.

Video: ARI@BUF: Pulkkinen nets first goal as a Coyote

Tobias Rieder and Alex Goligoski scored the other goals for the Coyotes, who managed just 10 shots in the first two periods.

Arizona played poorly defensively, too; Buffalo scored two power-play goals, a short-handed goal, an even-strength goal and two empty-net goals.

"We didn't deserve to win this game and it showed up on the scoreboard in the end," Rieder said. "We can't get plays made right now, our power play is struggling (and) we struggled on the penalty kill, so it all fell into place today. We've got to fix it."

Video: Tobias Rieder discusses Coyotes' 6-3 loss at Sabres

Head Coach Dave Tippett said the drama surrounding the trade deadline took a toll on the Coyotes.

"I think emotionally it took a lot out of the people in our room," Tippett said. "Unfortunately, that (final score is) the result of that ... In the end, you get what you usually deserve. Not much emotion in our group tonight, which is disappointing."

Video: Dave Tippett discusses Coyotes' 6-3 loss at Sabres

• Goligoski's goal tied the score 3-3 at 8:20 of the third period.

"There's too much indecision," Goligoski said of Arizona's recent efforts. "It makes us slow, and that leads to turnovers and you play in your end a lot."

Video: Alex Goligoski discusses Coyotes' 6-3 loss to Sabres

• Defenseman Kevin Connauton suffered an upper-body injury early in the third period. Buffalo's Marcus Foligno checked Connauton into the boards behind the Arizona goal, and Connauton skated gingerly off the ice, headed straight to the dressing room for medical attention, and did not return to the game. Tippett said he was day-to-day.

• Before the game, forward Radim Vrbata was named an alternate captain for the rest of the season. The Coyotes were missing an alternate captain since trading Martin Hanzal to Minnesota on Sunday.

"It's a big honor," Vrbata told FOX Sports Arizona. "(I've been) trying to be a leader the whole season so nothing will change for me."

• Forward Anthony Duclair, whom the Coyotes recalled from the American Hockey League on Wednesday, arrived in Buffalo shortly before the game but did not play. He likely will be in the lineup on Friday at Carolina.

• Backup goalie Louis Domingue is expected to start Friday's game at Carolina in the final game of a three-game trip in place of Mike Smith, who kept the Coyotes within striking distance for two-plus periods.

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