GLENDALE – Forward Viktor Tikhonov scored his first goal since rejoining the Coyotes on Thursday night in Arizona’s 7-5 loss to Columbus at Gila River Arena.
Tikhonov’s goal, scored at 8:15 of the second period, clearly got lost in the shuffle of the 12 goals scored in the game, but it meant a lot to him.
“Scoring that goal was a pretty good feeling and a monkey off my back a little bit,” Tikhonov said. “It helped me relax a little bit, but the result wasn’t what we wanted. We still have a lot of work to do.”
The Coyotes selected Tikhonov with the 28th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft. He played one season in Arizona and then eventually opted to play in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia after spending time in the American Hockey League. He signed with the Chicago Blackhawks last summer and played 11 games for them before being placed on waivers/claimed by the Coyotes on Dec. 6.
Tikhonov, 27, has notched a goal and an assist in four games with the Coyotes.
His goal on Thursday came during a power play when he banged a rebound past Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney from in close. It tied the score 2-2.
“I’d like to score from all parts of the ice and in different situations, but if all my goals are going to be rebounds from in front of the net I’ll take that,” Tikhonov said. “It’s a good place to be if you want to score goals.”
Tikhonov logged 17:28 of ice time, including 3:08 of power-play time.
In addition to being his first goal since re-joining the Coyotes, the goal was Tikhonov’s first non-shootout goal in the NHL since March 21, 2009 when he played as a 20-year-old rookie for the Coyotes against Vancouver.
Coyotes historians remember that goal well because it was scored in bizarre fashion on a delayed penalty call against Tikhonov. With Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo on the bench for an extra attacker, Canucks forward Henrik Sedin lost control of the puck near Vancouver’s blue line thanks to a poke check by Tikhonov. Canucks defenseman Shane O’Brien tried to sweep the puck out of the zone but he inadvertently knocked it toward the Vancouver net. O'Brien then chased after it, but the puck crossed the goal line just ahead of O'Brien, who dived but couldn’t knock it off its course.
• Forward Jordan Martinook notched a goal and an assist for the first multi-point game of his NHL career.
• Goalie Louis Domingue made his season debut in relief of Anders Lindback, taking the ice at 10:23 of the second period after Columbus scored its fourth goal. He stopped eight of the 10 shots he faced after Lindback stopped just six of the 10 shots he faced.
“It was poor,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said of the goaltending. “We had one with a .600 save percentage and one with a .800 save percentage. That is not good enough. Those guys have to get better. They can get better, they’ve shown they can get better, and they will get better.”
• Captain Shane Doan played in his 1,416th NHL game, tying Al MacInnis for 30th place on the NHL's all-time games played list.
• Despite practicing on Wednesday, center Martin Hanzal missed his fourth straight game because of a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, defenseman Zbynek Michalek (lower-body injury) and forward Anthony Duclair (illness) also were scratched.