Phoenix 4, Pittsburgh 1

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PITTSBURGH (TICKER) Shane Doan didn’t know where Mario Lemieux was all night, but his coach knew exactly how Doan could a lengthy drought.

Doan scored his first two goals in 17 games and Sean Burke made 33 saves as the Coyotes posted a 4-1 victory over the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins.

After ending the drought with his third two-goal game of the season, Doan wondered where the Penguins superstar was.

“Was Lemieux on the ice?” Doan asked. “You’re always worried about their team scoring.”

Lemieux had scored Pittsburgh’s last four goals since Martin Straka’s first-period tally against Los Angeles a week ago. He led the Penguins in ice time in this one but was a minus-2.

Doan used his 6-2 frame to muscle his way to the net on both goals, which were set up by Tony Amonte.

He netted his first at 3:06 of the second period, when he got a pass from behind the net from Amonte and chipped it past goaltender Johan Hedberg from the left faceoff circle.

Doan finished off another Amonte pass at 9:47 of the third. With Amonte again unchecked behind the net, he spotted Doan, who lifted the centering pass over Hedberg.

“I would have been happy with any goal tonight,” Doan said. “It’s a relief to get a couple. (It was) a great pass from Tony. I think we’re not looking at the highs and lows, trying to keep it even. Our confidence is coming.”

“How it works is you start pressing the longer it goes,” Coyotes coach Bob Francis explained. “The way he scores the first one is how he needs to score goals. He needs to park that wide body in front of the net. Amonte put it right on the tape and it was nice for him to score the second one, too. If put yourself in place to score a goal, they come more frequently.”

Doan’s big effort helped Phoenix improve to 7-3-1-0 in its last 11 games and remain eight points behind Edmonton for the Western Conference’s final playoff berth.

Before Doan gave the Coyotes the lead, Sean Burke kept them in it. He made 33 saves and won for the eighth time in his last nine starts.

“I thought it started with goaltending,” Francis said. “It wasn’t as easy as it looked or as the score indicated. We were outshot early in the game, 8-2. Burke bought us some time to recover and we made some adjustments.”

“We’re going to be saying every night from now until the end of the season, it’s a big game,” Burke added. “We need points desperately.”

The Coyotes, who rebounded from Sunday’s 5-2 setback at Detroit, also got a goal from Daymond Langkow and an empty-net tally from Kelly Buchberger.

Langkow, denied on a partial breakaway earlier in the game, netted his 10th goal in 18 games less than two minutes after Doan’s second tally. He took a pass from Ladislav Nagy, got past a defender and lifted a wrist shot from the slot over Hedberg.

“This was important coming off that loss against Detroit,” Langkow said. “They beat us pretty bad. We wanted to bounce back. We’re only a couple of points out of a playoff spot. This was an important win for us. Doan played great. He’s had some trouble scoring goals, good to see him get a couple.”

After facing just 18 shots over the first two periods, Burke withstood a 15-shot barrage in the third and was 1:53 from his second shutout of the season.

But defenseman Richard Lintner, one of four players obtained from the New York Rangers in the Alexei Kovalev trade, netted Pittsburgh’s first goal not scored by Lemieux since the first period of a 5-3 loss to Los Angeles on February 25.

The Penguins avoided their ninth shutout loss of the season but dropped their sixth straight game and fell to 3-9-0 since trading Kovalev.

“I don’t blame the team,” Hedberg said. “We’re all trying hard. It’s just not happening. None of the goals, I thought, were that bad. It’s just that every goal is bigger now than they were earlier in the season. All we can do is continue to try and give the effort.”

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Johan Hedberg NYR 28 25