Coyotes show some fight in season-high 6th straight loss
GLENDALE, Ariz. — If the Coyotes wanted to adopt an old-school band name for their old-time hockey approach on Thursday, it could have been Blood, Sweat and Years. The only thing missing from Arizona’s effort was the final result in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames at Gila River Arena that extended a season-high losing streak to six games.
The Coyotes produced three fights in a game for the first time since 2012, there was blood flowing from the faces of Max Domi and Oliver Ekman-Larsson, 40-year-old Shane Doan broke another franchise record and coach Dave Tippett had some positives to take to practice on Friday at the Ice Den in Scottsdale.
“I liked how hard we competed,” Tippett said. “When you get into a rut and you’re looking for ways to win, the compete has got to be the first step. There were some positives in that direction for us tonight. We’ve got a ways to go yet but if we’ll get enough guys competing we’ll be awful hard to play against.”
Ryan White, Murphy and Domi all took part in fights. White earned 17 minutes in penalties for his, and Domi’s, which came at the tail end of the second period, left him with cut under his left eye and an “upper-body” injury that ended his night.
Tippett would not elaborate on the injury, but when asked if having one of his star players engage in fights was a concern, he shook his head.
“Max has got to play the way he plays,” Tippett said. “He’s a hard player. You’d never like to see anybody get hurt, but Max has got to play hard.”
Doan achieved another milestone when he helped set up Domi’s first-period goal to record career assist No. 554, passing Thomas Steen for the franchise record.
“He came to camp and I thought I was going to get to play with him my first year,” Doan said of Steen, who left the NHL before Doan’s rookie season began to play in Germany. “He was around the room, just an incredible guy, his family and his boy, Alex.”
Doan is one of five NHL players who own franchise records in all of these categories: games played (1,492), goals (399), assists, points (953), power-play goals (126) and game-winning goals (69). The others are Ron Francis (Carolina), Joe Sakic (Colorado), Rick Nash (Columbus) and Mike Modano (Dallas).
“If you win that game it feels pretty good and it’s nice to contribute,” Doan said of his record-setting assist. “It’s something at some point I’ll be proud of.”
The Coyotes got another superlative effort from goalie Mike Smith, who made 33 saves but couldn’t stop Dougie Hamilton in overtime after the Flames defenseman split Doan and Brendan Perlini to walk in all alone.
Ekman-Larsson took four stitches — three outside his lower lip and one inside — after taking a Hamilton shot to the mouth. Ekman-Larsson said it was the first time he has ever had stitches. He also went through the NHL’s concussion protocol after Lance Bouma hit him from behind.
“I didn’t think the hit was that bad but the league called me and wanted to do the concussion test. I felt that I was fine right away when I got up. I don’t think it was a head shot, but obviously, it’s up to the league and they want to protect the players.”