Welcome back: Coyotes’ Christian Dvorak makes season debut

Feb 26, 2019, 11:34 PM
Christian Dvorak of the Arizona Coyotes skates up to a face-off during the third period of the NHL ...
Christian Dvorak of the Arizona Coyotes skates up to a face-off during the third period of the NHL game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Gila River Arena on December 16, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Coyotes, like many other teams in the league, welcomed a player into their lineup for the first time this season in their first game after the trade deadline.

Christian Dvorak made his season debut for 2018-19 on Tuesday, finally making his way back from a pair of injuries that have kept him out of NHL action since March 29, 2018. He played 13:18 in the Coyotes’ 4-3 shootout victory over the Florida Panthers, Arizona’s fourth win in a row.

He was a minus-3 — being on the ice for all three of Florida’s goals — but was heavily involved offensively and registered two shots on goal, two hits, a block, a giveaway and won five faceoffs in 11 tries. He also had 1:30 of power play time.

“I thought ‘D’ was fine early,” head coach Rick Tocchet said. “It was unfortunate, some of those goals [against], I don’t think it’s his fault. I think he played 13, 14 minutes, he was fine. He was skating well early. He’s just got to get his legs under him.”

Through the first 25 minutes-or-so of play, Dvorak was controlling the puck for what were arguably the two best scoring chances the Coyotes had up to that point. He didn’t score on either one — the first being a partial breakaway on a stretch pass and the other being an opportunity right on the doorstep of the crease on a pass from Alex Galchenyuk.

“I thought I was alright. I thought I had some chances I thought I should’ve scored on,” Dvorak said. “I was out there for all three goals against, so that’s never good. There’s some things to work on and all-in-all, I felt pretty solid.”

Dvorak also made a nice play late in the game when the Panthers were on the offensive zone rush. He got back defensively and made a simple poke-check to quell a scoring chance with less than a minute remaining.

“It feels good. You don’t really feel like part of the team, really, when you’re not playing,” Dvorak said. “And it’s been a while. So, it’s a lot of fun to be back, especially at this time of year.”

After getting back Dvorak — and sending center Jordan Weal to Montreal in a trade on Monday — the Coyotes had Nick Cousins, Derek Stepan, Brad Richardson and Dvorak as the four centers in their lineup, top-to-bottom.

Dvorak was listed on the fourth line with Richard Panik and Conor Garland.

The Coyotes will play again on Thursday night, the third game in a seven-game homestand in the midst of a playoff race. That contest is against Vancouver, with puck drop set for 7 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM.

Penguin Air

Arizona Coyotes

Logan Cooley, #3 pick by the Arizona Coyotes, poses for a portrait during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL D...
Arizona Sports

Coyotes’ Logan Cooley to play for U.S. at World Junior Championship

Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley -- the 2022 No. 3 pick -- will represent the United States at the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship.
1 day ago
Head coach of the Cleveland Monsters John Madden looks on from behind the bench against the Laval R...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes hire assistant coach John Madden

John Madden joins Andre Tourigny's coaching staff after spending the last two seasons with the San Jose Sharks as an assistant.
13 days ago
Zack Kassian #44 of the Edmonton Oilers celebrates a goal against the Ottawa Senators during the fi...
Sam Graveline

Armstrong: F Zack Kassian perfect fit for new style of ‘Coyotes hockey’

Among the many moves the Coyotes made during the NHL Draft, the sneaky acquisition of veteran forward Zack Kassian could be very important.
16 days ago
Conor Geekie is drafted by the Arizona Coyotes during Round One of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at...
Alex Weiner

Coyotes’ draftee Conor Geekie sets goal to make impact in 1st season

Arizona Coyotes first-rounder Conor Geekie says he believes he can make the NHL in Year 1 and have an impact.
20 days ago
Conor Geekie, #11 pick by the Arizona Coyotes, poses for a portrait during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL ...
Jake Anderson

Coyotes ink No. 11 overall pick Conor Geekie to 3-year entry-level deal

The Coyotes put pen to paper with forward Conor Geekie, who Arizona traded up to select No. 11 overall in the 2022 NHL Draft.
21 days ago
Logan Cooley smiles during a news conference after being selected as the third overall pick by the ...
Arizona Sports

Pittsburgh-native, Coyotes pick Logan Cooley says he was a Capitals fan

Pittsburgh native and Coyotes top draft pick Logan Cooley surprised Wolf & Luke by declaring himself a Capitals fan growing up.
23 days ago
Welcome back: Coyotes’ Christian Dvorak makes season debut