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‘Yotes Notes: Tanguay Overcomes Nerves, Shines in Debut

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – Despite having 1,070 NHL games on his resume, newcomer Alex Tanguay entered his debut with the Coyotes on Saturday night feeling a bit jittery.

“Honestly, I had zero legs in the first period,” Tanguay said after notching two goals and an assist in Arizona’s 5-1 win over Florida at Gila River Arena. “I was extremely nervous and couldn’t catch my breath out there. I didn’t get much sleep this afternoon. Even though I've played for a while this was a little nerve-racking. It’s a new situation (and) I was looking forward to playing well. I got a little lucky tonight. (My) teammates played great and gave me the puck in great opportunities. I’m happy we got the win.”

Per Elias Sports, Tanguay is the first player in Coyotes/Jets history to post three-plus points in his team debut.

Tanguay came to the Coyotes on Monday along with two prospects in the trade that sent forward Mikkel Boedker to the Colorado Avalanche. The 36-year-old winger was supposed to have played on Thursday vs. Anaheim, but he said the knee he tweaked in his Colorado finale wasn’t quite ready to go until Saturday.

Tanguay played on a line with center Antoine Vermette and rookie Anthony Duclair. All three players are French Canadians and their line quickly has been dubbed “The French Connection” by the media. They combined for nine points in their first game together: Tanguay (two goals, one assist), Vermette (one goal, three assists), and Duclair (two assists).

“I hope it keeps going,” Tanguay said. “It was fun. Anthony has got a lot of speed and a lot of skills; he’s going to create a lot of open ice. You saw him blowing by everybody and getting that penalty shot. Antoine is a very smart player. He plays well in both zones, wins a lot of face-offs, (and) he’s extremely smart with the puck. Tonight he made a lot of great plays. I’m extremely happy about where we’re at.”

• With three assists and one goal, Vermette matched his career-high for points in one game with four. He also accomplished the feat on April 3, 2008 playing for Ottawa against Toronto.

“This is much better than the rough patch we had for a little while there,” Vermette said about ending a seven-game losing streak. “Tonight we wanted to come out and have a strong game in front of our fans and gain momentum.”

• Goalie Louis Domingue stopped 32 of 33 shots to earn his first win since Feb. 18.

“He made some real good saves to keep us around the game,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “I didn’t think our first period was very good at all, and he made some good saves.”

Domingue said playing with a lead was a nice change.

“To play with the lead felt great for everybody,” Domingue said. “It relieves a lot of pressure on all the players on the team... When you play with such a good lead it's way easier to make big saves and to just play your game because you don’t have to think about anything. You just play and you have fun, and that’s what we did tonight.”

• Captain Shane Doan scored his 24th goal of the season at 1:36 of the third period. That’s his highest goal total since he scored 31 goals in 2008-09.

• Center Boyd Gordon returned to the lineup after missing 13 games because of an upper-body injury suffered while blocking a shot vs. Chicago on Feb. 4. Gordon played 14:15 and won 12 of 17 face-offs.

• Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson assisted on Doan’s goal to extend his point streak vs. Florida to seven games. Remarkably, he has notched exactly one point in all seven games (three goals, four assists).

• The Coyotes recalled Marek Langhamer from the American Hockey League on Saturday and he served as the backup goalie about eight hours after arriving in Phoenix from Rochester, N.Y. He is the sixth goalie to dress for the Coyotes this season.

• The Coyotes haven't lost to the Florida Panthers in regulation in Arizona since Dec. 8, 1999.

• The Coyotes played minus rookie Max Domi, who served an automatic one-game suspension for instigating within the final five minutes of Thursday’s 5-1 loss to Anaheim.

• Co-owner and Director Gary Drummond presented Doan with a gold-plated stick at center ice just before puck drop to commemorate Doan recently setting the franchise record for points.

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