Six years ago, the Coyotes were a very different team.
They had been owned by the NHL since October 26, 2009, they will still the Phoenix Coyotes, and they played at Jobing.com Arena.
Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney had brought in new goaltender Mike Smith that season, a player coach Dave Tippett had coached with the Dallas Stars, on a 2 year, $4 million contract to replace Ilya Bryzgalov who had just signed a humongous big 9 year, $51 million contact with the Philadelphia Flyers. And six years ago tonight on January 7, 2012, Coyotes Captain Shane Doan recorded the first hat trick of his NHL career with .1 seconds left against the New York Islanders
Late in the third period being down 4-1 the Islanders had elected not to pull Evegeni Nabokov for the extra attacker. The Yotes had been feeding Doan the puck all night in an effort to get him his third and late in the third wasn’t the time to change that plan. Ray Whitney, The Wizard, brought the puck in over the blue line and passed it to an open Doan. Doan was above the circle with the clock ticking down and he fired the puck on net, and with less than a second to go, it trickled past Nabokov.
While Doan’s final goal is the one that will always be remembered its important to look at the first two goals he had that night as they were the true difference makers. He opened up the scoring 1:41 into the first period by deflecting a shot from Mikkel Boedker past Nabokov to give the Coyotes an early lead. His second goal came 1:39 into the second on a breakaway to retake the lead after Frans Nielsen tied the game on a power play in the first, and would prove to be the ultimate game-winner.
The Coyotes would also see goals from Taylor Pyatt and a young defenseman named Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who also had an assist on Doan’s game-winner. Daymond Langkow, Keith Yandle, Lauri Korpikoski, Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Radim Vrbata, Rostislav Klesla, and Ray Whitney also notched assists in the game.
Doan’s hat trick came in his 1,161 games in the NHL, during that span he had previously had 38 two-goal games. That season would see Captain Coyote lead his team to a few more accomplishments, the Phoenix Coyotes captured their first division title and made their deepest push in the playoffs to date with a trip to the Western Conference Finals.
Shane Doan would ultimately not be re-signed by the Coyotes this past offseason, and he has since begun his post-playing career working with the NHL’s hockey operation department. Other than Oliver Ekman-Larsson, nobody who played with him during that game is still with the Arizona Coyotes.