May 20, 2012
Doan doesn't want to goCoyotes captain keeps team alive
By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency
LOS ANGELES - For two days, Shane Doan stewed over the way things had gone for his Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference final.
They faced elimination after falling behind 3-0 in the series to the Los Angeles Kings and, not to take anything away from the Kings, but the Coyotes looked nothing like the team that had rolled past the Nashville Predators in the second round.
The Coyotes captain wouldn't let their season die, scoring both goals in their 2-0 win over the Kings in Game 4 Sunday at the Staples Center. They now trail the Kings 3-1 with Game 5 set for Glendale Tuesday night.
It remains to be seen if the effort put out by Doan and the overall lifting of the Coyotes game will be too little, too late.
"We sort of talked a little bit before the game about how we didn't want the season to end tonight," said Coyotes forward Taylor Pyatt. "(Doan) went out and played hard, comes up with two huge goals for us and we're excited about getting the series back to Phoenix and we'll go from there."
Doan scored once in the first period on the power play to give the Coyotes their second lead of the series and added some insurance in the second on a goal that required video review to confirm. Doan's first goal ended a streak of 30-consecutive successful penalty kills for the Kings.
Play went on after Doan's second goal at 11:10 of the second as the puck went in and out of the net quickly off the in-goal camera. Doan got the puck at the top of the circle following a faceoff win by Antoine Vermette and fired a shot at the net, which was deflected by Kings defenceman Rob Scuderi. The puck beat Quick over the left shoulder and bounced straight out of the net after hitting the camera.
Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith made 36 saves for his third shutout of the playoffs.
"We recognize we put ourselves in a tough position," said Doan. "We also know (coming back from down 3-0) has been done. I guess that's what sports are all about, trying to do something that someone hasn't done for a while, try to do things that the odds are kind of stacked against you.
"Nobody wants to be in the position we're in, but everybody wants to prove they can kind of answer that call."
When the Coyotes needed a big game from their captain, they got it.
"I'm not surprised. He's a natural leader. His actions speak for themselves. He's got the right word at the right moment. He certainly does it all on the ice," said Vermette.
"Two goals, but you don't see all the things that happened behind the scenes in the dressing room, inspiration for the guys there, how much he cares about this team and winning," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said of his captain.
"When you can do that behind-the-scenes stuff, bag it up with the on the ice stuff, it speaks volumes for who he is. We don't have to sit here and talk about Shane Doan. Our players know, the league knows, how strong willed a guy he is. He went into this game thinking, 'We don't want to be swept.' That was the effort he put forth. Great to see."
The loss prevented the Kings from becoming the first team since the best-of-seven format was introduced for all four rounds of the playoffs 25 years ago to get to the final with just a single loss. It also ended an eight-game winning streak for the Kings and marked the first time they have been shut out in this post-season.
The good news for the Kings is they are 7-0 on the road in these playoffs.