Total domination from the Max Domi(3 A)/Martin Hanzal (2 G, 1 A)/Henrik Samuelsson (1 G, 2 A) line, that is the only possible way that you could describe the happenings of tonight’s pre-season game against the Los Angeles Kings. Although the team was split in half, some at the Staples Center and some at Gila River Arena (Other team lost 4-3 in shootout in LA), the whole game never had a dull moment.
The debate about who they would put on a line with Hanzal has been some of the biggest buzz during the offseason for the Coyotes. If the Coyotes are smart, they would make this line permanent. They have been playing up against some big names (and big title winners) in LA, including Justin Williams, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards and obviously holding their own. The impact this line has had is blatantly obvious for anyone watching. A shootout victory made possible by goals from Domi and Samuelsson was the icing on the cake (and not on the ice) to finish off the night. The only thing that makes this whole thing even more impressive is that Domi and Samuelsson are prospects for the team.
When Samuelsson was asked about whether or not he was surprised that he was chosen for shootout, he responded with:
“I think I’m pretty good at shootouts. A little bit surprised just ’cause all of the veterans that are here. Happy to go out there, even happier to score”.
He later chuckled when he got the question of whether or not he had a plan going into it to which he said, “No.”
Mike Smith, the Coyotes goalie was also a big part in the shootout win. He blocked shots from the King’s two stars, Jeff Carter and Justin Williams. Not only was Smith solid during the SO, but he stayed focused and had 29 saves, even after the Kings scored early.
Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett was not only impressed with Domi and Samuelsson, but during the post game press conference he said,
“I obviously thought Domi and Samuelsson played well because they were on the scoreboard, but I thought Tobias Rieder was pretty good. I thought Gaudet was real solid in his role; Szwarz did a good job for us, of course those players like that, that I was watching a lot closer tonight, we had real strong efforts out of a lot of them.”
Coach said he was “itching” to try the Domi/Hanzel/Samuelsson line all summer, but it’s the pre-season so it will most likely change.
Overall, the rookie hopefuls proved that they have what it takes to put up points against the players who have proven to be the real deal. What does this mean for their future in the NHL? Well there’s about 16 more days until regular season, so time will have to tell.
Kings Goals: Pearson (A to Toffoli/Carter), Dowd (A Tiffoli/Pearson), Richards (2) (A on 1 Williams/King, on 2 Carter/Pearson)
Coyotes Goals: Samuelsson (A Domi/Hanzal), Hanzal (2) (A goal 1/2 Domi/Samuelsson), Gagner (A Korpikoski/Doan); Shootout goals by Samuelsson and Domi
End Score: 5-4, Coyotes