Center Martin Hanzal scored two goals to lead the Arizona Coyotes to a surprising 3-1 victory at Gila River Arena on Thursday night over the Dallas Stars, the top team in the NHL’s Western Conference.
Hanzal, who has struggled for goals since becoming a first-round pick for Arizona in 2005, gave Arizona the lead 55 seconds into the second period when he found Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s rebound and made a crafty shot that struck Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski and got past goalie Kari Lehtonen. This made the score 2-1. Hanzal added a short-handed goal in the third period to double the Coyotes lead.
The game featured two goals nine seconds apart. Arizona second-year player Tobias Rieder scored at 14:11 of the first period, then Dallas veteran Ales Hemsky immediately tied the game at 1.
Hanzal’s first goal was the 100th of his career, inspiring him to give this amusing quote: “It’s a nice number. It took me what, nine years? In another 35, I might catch Doaner.”
Arizona goalie Louis Domingue made 37 saves against the NHL’s top-scoring offense.
The 33-34-7 Coyotes are one win from evening up their wins and losses. They play Saturday night at 8 p.m. MST on home ice against the Philadelphia Flyers. Arizona is not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention but trails the Minnesota Wild for the final wild-card spot by 10 points with eight games to play.