Six years and nearly eight months after playing what many believed was his final game for the Coyotes, forward Viktor Tikhonov made his season debut with the team on Tuesday night at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
Wearing sweater No. 9, Tikhonov, whom the Coyotes claimed off waivers on Sunday, logged 11:34 of ice time - all at even strength - in Arizona’s 4-1 loss to the Blues. He delivered one hit, blocked a shot and won one of two face-offs.
“I was a little bit tense, to be honest,” Tikhonov said. “It’s good to get back out there and try to learn the system as fast as possible. The guys kind of kept me fired up. There was a lot of good support on the bench and it helped loosen me up, for sure.”
Prior to Tuesday, Tikhonov last played for the Coyotes on April 11, 2009 in the season finale vs. Anaheim. He scored the decisive goal in a shootout to end that game.
On Tuesday, Tikhonov played primarily on the fourth line with center Boyd Gordon and winger Dustin Jeffrey.
“He was all right. We’ll have to get him up and going,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “He hasn’t played much lately.”
Tikhonov, whom the Coyotes grabbed with the 28th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, played 11 games for Chicago this season before being placed on waivers.
• Center Martin Hanzal did not play because of a lower-body injury. He is considered day-to-day. With Hanzal out of the lineup, forward Mikkel Boedker wore an ‘A’ on his sweater along with Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Antoine Vermette.
• Captain Shane Doan missed his eighth consecutive game because of a nagging lower-body injury. The Coyotes are 3-5-0 in the games Doan has missed.
• The Coyotes allowed the Blues to score a momentum-grabbing, short-handed goal with 8.8 seconds left in the second period. It was the seventh short-handed goal given up by Arizona this season, the most allowed by any team in the NHL.
“They got a fortunate bounce on it, but we’ve seen too many of those happen this year,” Tippett said. “…It’s another story of we try hard (but) just come up short.”
• Zbynek Michalek played in his 565th game for the Coyotes, passing Randy Carlyle and earning sole possession of second place on the team’s games played list for defensemen. Only Teppo Numminen (1,098) has played more games than Michalek on defense in the history of the Coyotes/Jets franchise, and only six players overall have played more games for the team than Michalek. They are: Doan (1,414), Numminen (1,098), Thomas Steen (950), Dale Hawerchuk (713), Doug Smail (691) and Keith Tkachuk (640).