Kevin Hayes scored the game-winning goal for the New York Rangers on Thursday night as he and his teammates cashed in a misplayed puck by goalie Mike Smith behind the Coyotes net.
“That’s deflating to our team when you give up a goal like that,” Smith said after the team’s 4-1 loss at Madison Square Garden. “That’s on me and we’ll try and get better… It was a brutal play. I heard someone call for it but it happened to not be our player. That was unfortunate and I didn’t play the puck very well at all tonight and it ended up costing us.”
Head Coach Dave Tippett didn’t blame Smith for the error.
“You know what I want?” Tippett said. “I want the winger to get it out before it gets back to that situation. We had it on each wall and didn’t get it out.”
Smith also did not like the way the team started the game.
“We had barely any shots in the first period,” Smith said. “We looked slow again and I don’t know why we can’t figure that out, but it’s something that needs to be addressed.”
Captain Shane Doan agreed.
“That seems to be the M.O. for the last few games,” Doan said. “We get better as the game goes along. Obviously, (we have to) start off better than we have. That starts with myself as one of the leaders. We need to make sure we’re ready to go. We had a 1-0 lead after the first but probably didn’t deserve that. We didn’t really take advantage of it either.”
► Defenseman Klas Dahlbeck scored his first goal of the season and his first with the Coyotes. The goal came on Arizona's second shot of the game at 15:34 of the first period. Max Domi set it up by sending a tape-to-tape pass to Dahlbeck in the left circle. Dahlbeck then snapped a shot past Henrik Lundqvist to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead.
“I just want to play a solid game and I want to be good with the puck, too, and just keep developing as a player,” Dahlbeck said.
Dahlbeck has scored two goals in 30 NHL games. The first one came against Boston’s Tuukka Rask when Dahlbeck played for Chicago last season.
“He’s got lots of try in his game,” Tippett said. “His execution has to continue to improve – that first pass out of our own zone. But he’s a young player, he’s got lots of upside. We’re trying to push our ‘D’ to get up the ice as much as possible. It doesn’t matter if they’re (Oliver) Ekman-Larsson or Dahlbeck, we want them to get up the ice. It’s good to see him get an opportunity and score.”
► Martin Hanzal, playing in his 500th NHL game, assisted on Dahlbeck’s goal for his NHL-leading ninth assist. Hanzal has notched at least one point in all but one of Arizona’s first seven games.
► Center Antoine Vermette suffered a lower-body injury midway through the second period, left the ice and did not return.
After the game, Tippett said Vermette is considered day-to-day.
Vermette suffered a lower-body injury in a game played on Oct. 15, but he returned for the next game on Oct. 17 to keep his consecutive-games streak alive.
► The Coyotes skated seven defensemen for the first time on Thursday. Tippett said a key reason was so forward Mikkel Boedker could be moved off the point on the power play. Defenseman Michael Stone took Boedker’s spot on the point.
“We put two defensemen out there based on we’ve given up four short-handed goals against,” Tippett said.
► Forward Jordan Martinook led the Coyotes with five shots on goal despite playing just 10:27.
► Rookie Anthony Duclair played 17:31 and took two shots on goal in his first game vs. the Rangers since they traded him to the Coyotes last March.