GLENDALE, Ariz. - One time, he remembers having a third goal washed out by a dislodged post. Another night, a goal credited to him early in the game was changed before he got two more - and then he hit the post on an empty net in the final minute.
On Saturday night, with six minutes left to play and two first-period goals already in the bag, Shane Doan lined up a power-play one-timer against Dallas goalie Richard Bachman - making his NHL debut in mop-up duty - and rang the puck off the post. The Jobing.com Arena crowd came halfway out of their seats, only to collapse backward in a collective sigh.
So the search for that elusive first NHL hat trick continues for Doan, who had to settle for his 35th two-goal game - the most among active players without a hat trick. But the Coyotes got what they came for, a 5-2 win against the Stars in a game winger Scottie Upshall called "the most important of the season" coming in.
"It's not the first time I've gotten two in the first period and ended up with two," said Doan, who had 3 goals in just over six minutes for the Canadian National Team against Belarus in the 2007 World Championships but has come up hat-less in 1,065 NHL games. "I'd love to get it, but it wouldn't be as good a story if I get it now. Might as well keep it going, I guess. Maybe another day."
Doan's close friend Keith Yandle added a goal and a pair of assists and Ray Whitney had a goal and an assist for Phoenix, which had been 0-2-1 in its last three home games against the likes of Anaheim, Florida and Minnesota and needed this one before beginning a six-game road trip.
"It was huge for us," Doan said. "We weren't too happy and Tip (coach Dave Tippett) wasn't happy with us. But as a group we hold ourselves pretty accountable and we played a game we can be proud of."
James Neal and Loui Eriksson scored for Dallas, who had been 7-1-1 in their previous nine games to take over the Pacific Division lead but failed on six of seven power-play chances and are now just 3-for-49 (6.1 percent) on the road this season.
"If there's any consolation, we got one (power-play-goal) at the end and hopefully that will take us off the slide," Dallas coach Mark Crawford said. "I thought we had some real good power plays tonight. We did everything but score."
The Coyotes started scoring right away, led by two veterans who have struggled to score all season.
Whitney started a long night for Dallas goalie Andrew Raycroft - subbing for the injured Kari Lehtonen - by slipping a Radim Vrbata feed into the net at 6:11. It was just the fourth goal of the season for Whitney and his first since Nov. 13 - when he had the other three in a career-best, five-point night against St. Louis.
Doan, who hit the crossbar and the post on the same shift in Thursday's loss to the Wild and is off the slowest start of his 15-year career, then took over. Eric Belanger came off the bench and stole a bad Trevor Daley pass before setting up Doan for a wrist shot past Raycroft's glove at 7:19. Doan made it 3-0 on the power play, hammering home a Whitney rebound at 19:38.
Three of Doan's four goals this season have come against Dallas, and he now has 29 against the Stars in his career - the most he has scored against any team. Doan is finally warming up with 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists) in his last eight games.
"I told him on that last power play that if he passed it to me I was going to shoot it at him," said Yandle, who tied a career high with 3 points. "Then he hits the post … I think we were more upset that he was. He was more interested in getting the win and we needed this one."
Dallas got on the board when Neal banged in a Tom Waddell drop pass 3:11 into the second period to extend his scoring streak to seven games. But Ilya Bryzgalov (33 saves) and the Phoenix penalty kill, which has killed 32 of 37 power plays in the last 11 games, took it from there.
"Last time we played Dallas, they had four power-play goals against us (in a 6-3 loss on Nov. 5) and we really wanted to be aggressive and not let them set up," said Lauri Korpikoski, whose shorthanded goal gave him a career-high 8 goals in 28 games this season. "We needed a good start with a lot of energy."
Dallas played without Lehtonen (back) and defenseman Mark Fistric (groin), who has completed his minor-league conditioning assignment and will join the team in San Jose for Monday's game.