GLENDALE, Ariz. — Net presence is one of the many assets Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal brings to the table. On Thursday against the Dallas Stars, that asset paid off in production.
Hanzal had a pair of goals, including his first short-handed tally since Dec. 4, 2008, and goaltender Louis Domingue made 37 saves as the Coyotes defeated the Stars 3-1 at Gila River Arena to record their second win over the Central Division leaders in as many games this season.
“I don’t think Marty scores on a lot of long shots,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said, laughing. “He’s a real force out there at both ends of the ice and it’s great to see him rewarded with some goals because he spends a lot of time around the net.”
Tobias Rieder also scored for the Coyotes. Ales Hemsky scored for Dallas, which got 26 saves from goalie Kari Lehtonen but missed a chance to open a four-point lead on St. Louis for the division lead.
“I think when you take six penalties and three of them are just mental mistakes, it wasn’t a good night for us,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. “We had plenty of chances to score and I thought their goalie was good, but I didn’t think we got enough traffic in front of him. There were better plays to be made and we didn’t make them.”
Arizona took a 1-0 lead when Rieder deflected Connor Murphy’s shot from the point past Lehtonen at 14:11 of the first period. Lehtonen appeared to be fighting through a partial screen by two Dallas players.
Dallas answered off the ensuing faceoff when left winger Antoine Roussel stole the puck from Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek at the blue line to create a 2-on-1. Roussel fed Hemsky in the slot, and Hemsky manage to pull the puck around Domingue with some nifty stick work and slip it in the open side at 14:20.
The Coyotes regained the lead when Hanzal gathered the rebound of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s shot from the left boards and pushed it under Lehtonen’s pad for a 2-1 edge just 55 seconds into the second period. The goal was the 100th of Hanzal’s career and his second in as many games after a 15-game scoring drought.
“It’s just a number but it’s a nice number,” Hanzal said of his milestone goal. “It took me what nine years? Another 35 and I might catch (Shane) Doaner.”
The Coyotes had a chance to widen the lead in the second period when Stars left winger Jamie Benn hauled down Arizona center Brad Richardson on a breakaway. Officials awarded Richardson a penalty shot, but he fired his attempt wide left.
Arizona got some insurance with the Stars on their third power play of the game. Hanzal deflected defenseman Klas Dahlbeck’s shot off the post through traffic and then found himself alone with the puck at the right post for an easy tap-in and a 3-1 lead at 7:51 of the third period. It was Hanzal’s first two-goal game since Nov. 10 against Los Angeles.
Hanzal had the game-winning goal in both games against the Stars this season.
Dallas fired 14 shots at Domingue in the third period but he made a handful of terrific saves, including a point-blank stop on John Klingberg.
“We generated quite a few shots on goal, but I think we can do a better job of taking his eyes away and getting some of those second-chance rebounds,” Stars forward Patrick Sharp said. “It’s going to be a good test these last seven, eight games because we’ve got some tough teams coming in. We want to make sure we’re playing our best hockey the next few weeks.”
NOTES: Lehtonen made his fifth consecutive start and ninth in the past 10 games as he looks to solidify the No. 1 spot before the playoffs. Antti Niemi still has more appearances (44) than Lehtonen (40), but Niemi has just one start since March 1. … Coyotes GM Don Maloney said he has begun contract negotiations with Rieder, who can become a restricted free agent when the season ends. Maloney normally doesn’t conduct negotiations during the season, so the move is a sign of Rieder’s value to the organization. … Stars D Kris Russell missed his second consecutive game with a foot injury despite pressing coach Lindy Ruff hard to play. “If we needed him to play, he could play, but we’re lucky enough to give him enough time,” Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. … Stars C Mattias Janmark (upper body) also missed the game but is close to returning.