GLENDALE, Ariz. — Shane Doan has had a flair for the dramatic this season. You had a feeling that with the franchise record for points in sight and Calgary in town to face the Coyotes on Friday at Gila River Arena, the Alberta boy would find a way to bring down the house.
Doan did just that. The only problem with the script is the manner in which the record was broken.
After Doan staked the Coyotes to a 1-0 lead after one period to tie Dale Hawerchuk’s franchise record, the Coyotes were on a 4-on-3 power play early in the second period. Both Doan and defenseman Michael Stone drove into the circle to help Martin Hanzal win the faceoff and Doan thought he tipped the puck to Stone, who pushed it back to Oliver Ekman-Larsson for a blast that beat Jonas Hiller for a 2-0 lead.
The Coyotes approached the official scorers to get the assist credited to Doan, but it took the league’s stat folks a full period to award Doan the assist and the franchise record with his 930th point.
“I was sitting on the bench,” said Doan, who found out with everyone else when the scoring change was announced in the arena. “It is what it is. It’s still something that obviously as a player you’re pretty excited about. I thought I got it but it wasn’t a big deal.”
Just for insurance, Doan buried his 21st goal of the season on a power play a few minutes later to push the Coyotes lead to 4-1. That would have provided a more fitting crescendo, especially since it also set the franchise record for power-play goals at 123, but the low-key Doan admitted he was happy to simply get the records out of the way so the focus would turn to the Coyotes’ desperate playoff push.
“Sometimes those can get a little tedious,” he said of the records chase. “We’re in February and no one predicted that we’d be in the middle of (the playoff race). We’re not where we want to be right now but we’re not too far away from it. We just have to find ways to win games and that makes it fun. That’s part of relishing it. It means so much more because of that.”
The win snapped the Coyotes’ four-game losing streak (0-4-1) and pulled them within three points of Nashville for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference as they head to San Jose for a critical matchup on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, coach Dave Tippett had called out the team’s leaders, asking them to carry the team down its stretch drive.
“When you haven’t won in a while and you’re going into a real important game, those are the guys you should rely on,” Tippett said.
Who better to lead them than the guy who has been leading them for the past 13 seasons? With two goals on Friday, Doan now leads the Coyotes with 21 goals, giving him 13 seasons of 20 or more goals. Only Jaromir Jagr (18), Jarome Iginla (16) and Marian Hossa (14) have more among active players, while Doan is even with Vincent Lecavalier.
Nobody in this community would ever question Doan’s importance to the Coyotes, but at long last, he has the records to underscore his immeasurable value — even if it took him a little longer than Hawerchuk to achieve them.
“It’s amazing,” Tippett said. “I told him it was good it was only 103 years it took him to do it.”