Coyotes right-winger Lee Stempniak recorded his first career NHL hat trick and defensemen Ed Jovanovski assisted on three goals as the Coyotes won their first home game at Jobing.Com Arena Thursday night 4-2 against the L.A. Kings.
Stempniak scored twice, in a three-minute span to give the Yotes a 2-0 lead in the first period. Center Andrew Ebbett would add a short handed goal in the second period and Stempniak capped off his hat trick on an empty netter in the final minute of the game to secure the victory.
Stempniak was no doubt excited about the hat trick, but understands that his team needs everyone to pick up their play with captain Shane Doan (suspension) and center Martin Hanzal (injury) out of the lineup.
“Those are two big parts of our team and obviously we can’t just have guys jump in and fill those roles,” said Stempniak. “I think that everyone had to collectively step up their game to do that. It was a big game for us in terms of establishing our identity. We have had a bit of a tough schedule. We have been a bit erratic and it was good for us to come here and hopefully start off by playing a good team game.”
Phoenix will be without their captain Shane Doan for two more games. He will miss Saturday’s home game against the Carolina Hurricanes and Monday’s contest in Montreal. Doan was suspended three games by the NHL for his alleged blindside hit on Anaheim Duck winger Dan Sexton. Doan is not what one would call an “enforcer” and does not have a history of illegal hits, which means the NHL, like the NFL, is strictly enforcing hits that they deem to be malicious and with “intent to injure.”
The Coyotes, who played their first two NHL games in Prague, are now 2-2-1 on the season. Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 28 of 30 shots and veteran winger Ray Whitney returned to the lineup after missing consecutive games with an upper body injury.
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Written by Robb Patty