Domi, Ekman-Larsson lead Coyotes to 4th straight win
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dave Tippett's 500th game as coach of the Arizona Coyotes ended much like most of the others he has coached against the Edmonton Oilers -- with a victory.
The Coyotes' 4-3 overtime win on Tuesday night gives Tippett a 22-2-4 record against the Oilers as Arizona's coach. (All told, he's 239-192-69 in Arizona.)
But that's where the similarities end. Tuesday's win was anything but typical.
For the Coyotes (22-16-4), it was their fourth win in a row and leaves them only two short of their win total for all of last season. It's their longest win streak since a five-gamer in October/November 2013.
The comeback was fashioned by rookie Max Domi's first career hat trick -- ending a 15-game goal-scoring drought dating back to Dec. 4. Domi scored his first just just as the Coyotes' first power-play opportunity had expired with 7:23 left in the second period, cutting into Edmonton's 2-0 lead, then capitalized on a pair of power plays three minutes apart in the third period, after Edmonton had retaken a two-goal advantage.
"Just to help the team out is what makes it special," Domi said. "Sometimes the puck goes in for you, sometimes it doesn't. Tonight I was a little lucky out there. I'll definitely take that."
Oliver Ekman-Larsson assisted on all three of Domi's goals then capped the highest-scoring game of his career with the game-winning goal with just 8.9 seconds left in an overtime session that left the Coyotes physically and emotionally exhausted.
With puck possession so crucial in 3-on-3 overtime, it seemed inevitable that the Coyotes would have to settle for one point as the trio of Ekman-Larsson, Shane Doan and Tobias Rieder got stranded on the ice for a shift of 2:04 -- visibly gassed, unable to gain possession, gamely trying to take up space while the Oilers attacked again and again.
But when Louie Domingue was finally able to cover the puck, the Coyotes got a fresh group on the ice and fresh momentum. Moments later, Taylor Hall was called for high-sticking, giving the Coyotes 29.7 seconds of a 4-on-3 advantage before the game would go to a shootout. On their final frantic push, Ekman-Larsson rifled home his sixth game-winning goal of the season.
So in the end there were smiles all around, especially from Doan, who chuckled while recalling his marathon shift.
"Tipp just asked me how I liked three on three, with a little bit of smirk on his face," he said. "Toby and I at the end decided to protect the house, so we were going to stand still in the middle of the ice and let them go around the outside for a while.
"We've been chuckling about it, the two of us, now that we've won."
The win wouldn't have happened without an inspired effort from Domi -- whose hat trick was the fifth of the season for the Coyotes -- more than any team in the NHL.
Domi said he hadn't felt any extra pressure while the streak of goal-less games mounted, and both Doan and his coach said they knew it was only a matter of time before good things happened.
"He's such a great player, it's not like you have to say anything," Doan said. "He's making plays for everyone around him, setting up people. I wasn't too worried. He's a pretty incredible player."
Added Tippett: "He’s still been getting chances, but it just seemed like he needed a break. That first goal was one that went off a leg and right to him. The good thing is he buried it. He capitalized on the chances, and hopefully that will give him a little spark to get him going."
As for Tippett's milestone of 500 games with the franchise, he said he didn't realize it until he was told Tuesday morning.
"I've enjoyed my time here," he said. "My family enjoys it here, I love this team, and hopefully we get to continue to build it and make a team everybody is really proud of."
Doan, the one constant for all 500 of Tippett's games with the Coyotes, offered high praise to mark the occasion.
"Tipp is the constant that keeps everybody in check, keeps everybody on the right page, keeps everybody accountable," he said. "I've sure enjoyed playing under him."
Even for an extended shift of 3-on-3.