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‘Yotes Notes: Thomas Makes Debut in Loss to Jets

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

Forward Christian Thomas made his debut with the Coyotes on Tuesday night as Arizona ended its pre-All-Star Game schedule with a 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.

Thomas, whom the Coyotes acquired from the Montreal Canadiens via a trade for Lucas Lessio on Dec. 16, played 10:35, notched three shots on goal and blocked a shot. He is the son of Steve “Stumpy” Thomas, who played 20 seasons in the NHL.

“I think it’s going to be good for me,” Thomas said, before the game, about the trade. “I kind of knew something was going to happen, and I was fortunate to come to a team here with a lot of young players. They like speed and guys that can compete. I think I can bring that. Hopefully my style of play helps out, and I can do that to the best of my ability.”

Thomas, 23, took Viktor Tikhonov's spot in the lineup and played on the fourth line with center Boyd Gordon and Kyle Chipchura. Tikhonov suffered a lower-body injury in Monday's game at Minnesota and is considered day-to-day.

• The Coyotes dropped to 0-3-2 in five games vs. the Jets at the MTS Centre since Winnipeg rejoined the NHL in 2011-12.

“You have to take this game and park it,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “If you want to overthink this game, it's wrong. Just park it and move on to the break."

Brad Richardson scored Arizona’s first goal, his fifth of the season, at 15:40 of the second period. He quietly played a solid game with a team-high five shots on goal. He also won 9 of 11 face-offs.

• Goalie Louis Domingue gave up five goals on 25 shots in the first two periods before being replaced by Anders Lindback after the second intermission. Those five goals are the most Domingue has allowed in one game in his brief, 24-game NHL career.

The most noteworthy goal Domingue allowed on Tuesday came at the 6:00 mark of the second period when Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien launched a shot at him from just inside the red line that Domingue misplayed and let get past him. It gave Winnipeg a 3-0 lead.

“That third goal really took some zip out of us,” Tippett said. “… it was downhill from there."

Lindback stopped all 12 shots he faced in relief of Domingue in his first game since Jan. 16.

• Rookie Anthony Duclair scored his 13th goal of the season with 17 seconds left in the third period. Only Chicago’s Artemi Panarin (17), Buffalo’s Jack Eichel (16) and Detroit’s Dylan Larkin (15) have scored more among NHL rookies.

• The Coyotes issued a Coach’s Challenge on Winnipeg’s first goal of the game at 6:55 of the first period citing goaltender interference on Byfuglien.

Here’s the official ruling from the NHL:

“At 6:55 of the first period in the Coyotes/Jets game, Arizona requested a Coach's Challenge to review whether Dustin Byfuglien interfered with goaltender Louis Domingue before the puck entered the Arizona net.

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee confirmed no goaltender interference infractions occurred before the puck crossed the goal line.

Therefore the original call stands – good goal Winnipeg Jets.

Since the Coach’s Challenge did not result in the original call being overturned, the Arizona Coyotes forfeit their time-out.”

The Coyotes had a goal disallowed on Monday because of goaltender interference.

“Same referee and same everything,” Tippett said. “That’s what the frustrating thing is. The inconsistency is frustrating because I thought the one tonight was worse than the one last night. That’s just my own opinion.”

• Defenseman Nicklas Grossmann returned to the lineup after missing two games because of illness. He played 17:17, delivered two hits and blocked a shot.

• The Coyotes are off for the NHL All-Star break. Their next practice is Monday and their next game is on Tuesday at home vs. Los Angeles. It will be Tippett’s 1,000th game as an NHL head coach.

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