GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) When the Arizona Coyotes’ season ends – almost certainly short of the playoffs – it will likely be best remembered for captain Shane Doan becoming the franchise’s career leader in goals and points.
On Thursday night, however, an oft-injured former first-round pick got his chance in the spotlight while helping take down the top team in the Western Conference.
Martin Hanzal scored his 100th career goal in the second period and added his first short-handed goal in more than seven years in the third to give the Coyotes a 3-1 victory over the sloppy Dallas Stars.
“It’s a nice number,” Hanzal said of the milestone. “It took me what, nine years? In another 35, I might catch Doaner.
Two nights after a dominant win in Chicago to clinch a playoff berth, Dallas took six penalties, gave up a penalty shot and the league’s top offense was stymied in snapping a three-game winning streak.
“Two or three of them were just mental mistakes,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said of the flurry of penalties. “Throwing pucks over the glass. We had some good spots in the game, but when you’re (37 percent) on faceoffs and six penalties and one penalty shot, it wasn’t a good night for us.”
Ales Hemsky‘s first-period goal was it for the Stars, who stayed two points ahead of idle St. Louis for the best record in the Central Division and the conference.
“We’ve played tough teams before, but we’ve got to play every game the same,” Hemsky said. “It doesn’t matter who we play against, Chicago or Phoenix, those teams who aren’t in playoffs or in the playoffs. We’ve got to play harder.”
Goals have been tough to come by for Hanzal, Arizona’s first-round pick in 2005. But the 29-year-old got his milestone and the winner 55 seconds into the second period when he poked at Oliver Ekman-Larsson‘s rebound. The puck bounced off Dallas’ Alex Goligoski and squirted by Kari Lehtonen.
Hanzal then collected Klas Dahlbeck’s deflected shot off the crossbar and tapped in his first short-handed goal since Dec. 4, 2008, against Toronto at 7:51 of the third to put it away.
“There’s a lot around the front of the net there. I don’t think he had a lot of long shots,” Arizona coach Dave Tippett said of Hanzal. “But he keeps chugging along. He’s a big force there on both ends of the ice.”
A parade to the penalty box sapped any momentum from Dallas, and it could have been worse, thanks to Lehtonen’s 26 saves and the missed penalty shot.
A strange first period included two goals in 9 seconds and three delay-of-game penalties that was a sign of things to come for Dallas.
Rieder redirected Connor Murphy‘s one-timer past Lehtonen at 14:11 to put Arizona ahead and give the 23-year-old Rieder his career-best 15th goal.
On the next shift, Hemsky and Antoine Roussel broke on a 2-on-1, with Hemsky using slick stick work to wrap the puck around Domingue and tie it at 1.
Arizona finished 0 for 6 on the power play, but scored only its fourth short-handed goal of the season to win for the fifth time in seven games.
Domingue, a rookie, has been hot since the return of veteran Mike Smith from injury and his workload has decreased.
“I love it when he just catches the puck and hands it back to the referee and let’s go again,” Tippett said. “I like that calm.”
NOTES: Tippett said Smith would likely start Saturday against Philadelphia. … Hanzal has three goals and an assist in the past two games. … Lehtonen fell to 12-4-4 in his career against the Coyotes. … Stars D Kris Russell (lower-body) missed his second straight game. … Most Stars players attended a Texas Rangers spring training game Wednesday in nearby Surprise. Rangers manager Jeff Banister entered the stands to congratulate them on clinching a playoff spot.