Coyotes’ Domingue in familiar spot, filling in for injured starter
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Coyotes’ goaltending situation has assumed its customary, early-season feel. For the third straight season, the starting goalie is injured and Louis Domingue is being asked to hold the fort.
Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet listed Antti Raanta as day-to-day on Friday, one day after Raanta left a 4-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings after the first period with a lower-body injury he suffered that period. The Coyotes recalled goaltender Marek Langhamer of the American Hockey League from Tucson on an emergency basis, while also assigning forward Emerson Etem to the Roadrunners.
Tocchet would not rule Raanta out for Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins, but Raanta did not practice on Friday so the smart money is on Domingue making his second start and fourth appearance of the season.
If he does, the Coyotes will need more from Domingue than they got against the Red Wings. Clayton Keller staked Arizona to 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but a knuckleball, one-timer from Martin Frk at the top of the circle eluded Domingue’s glovehand even though he was in position to stop it, tying the game at 1-1.
Detroit tied the game at 2-2 with 42 seconds left in the second period when Henrik Zetterberg’s soft shot trickled between Domingue’s pads because his stick was not on the ice.
“It’s quite obvious those saves need to be made in this league,” Coyotes goalie coach Jon Elkin said. “It’s cut and dry; black and white, but if he’s going to last in this league he’s got to move past that. A lot of goalies let in really bad goals, have really bad games but the guys who last in this league come ready the next game and get the job done.”
Domingue has done it before.
Two seasons ago, Smith suffered an abdominal injury two months into the season and Domingue filled in for three months. He went 7-0-3 in his first 10 starts, and his 15 wins were the most by a rookie goalie since the franchise relocated to Arizona.
Last season, Smith was injured in the second game of the season and Domingue had to fill in for a month with mixed results.
“I know I can do the job,” said Domingue, who is 0-2 this season with a 3.97 goals against average and an .885 save percentage. “I’ve done it many times. I’ve had stretches of eight, 10 games, .940 save percentage. It’s [about] finding my swagger and that’s going to be a save at time and especially working hard in practice, keep working hard in practice.
“I think technically I’m there. I have everything I need to be good technically. Reading the plays, timely saves, finding the swagger, playing confident. It’s not playing not to make mistakes, it’s playing confident.”
Tocchet would like to see Domingue strike the right tone, too, while backing his team. Just last week, Tocchet cited Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, whom he coached in Pittsburgh, as an example.
“He takes responsibility even though the goal is not his fault,” Tocchet said of Fleury. “That’s probably the biggest thing I love about him. He’ll tell the reporters after the game ‘I have to have that one’ when it’s a backdoor tap-in. He’s just the ultimate teammate.”
There’s no telling how long Raanta will be out. Whether Domingue fills in for a short stretch or a long stretch, there is another factor adding urgency to his play. Domingue is in the last year of a contract that will pay him $1.05 million. The Coyotes have multiple prospects waiting in the wings to challenge for the backup spot next season, including Hunter Miska, Adin Hill and perhaps Merrick Madsen if he signs after his senior season at Harvard.
“He’s got to feel that the goals that went in, he’s got to have,” Tocchet said. “That’s the first thing and go from there. His attitude, it’s good, but you’ve got to be big in the net. You’ve got to make the stops and he knows it.”
Bruins at Coyotes
When: 6 p.m., Thursday
Where: Gila River Arena
TV: FOX Sports Arizona
Radio: ESPN 620 AM
Records: Coyotes — 0-3-1. Bruins — 1-2.
Injury report: Coyotes — D Jakob Chychrun (knee) and F Brendan Perlini (upper body) are on injured reserve. G Antti Raanta (lower body) and D Kevin Connauton are day-to-day.
Bruins — F Noel Acciari (finger) and F David Backes (diverticulitis) are on injured reserve. C Patrice Bergeron (lower body) is day-to-day
Bruins scouting report: — Boston has scored seven goals in its first three games. … Bergeron went on the ice after Thursday’s practice but coach Bruce Cassidy said it is unlikely he’ll play. … D Charlie McAvoy (goal, two points) was Clayton Keller’s teammate at Boston University. Both are strong candidates for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.