Shane Doan was defiant heading into Game 4 of the Western Conference final. He wasn't ready to see the Phoenix Coyotes' season end, and certainly not under a cloud of humiliation.
"This team's worked too hard to not show what we're capable of. A lot of guys were embarrassed going down 3-0, and we ought to find a way to show what we're capable of," said Doan on CBC, moments after his two-goal effort stood up in a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. "We got a game back."
Of course, the Kings have lost a potential elimination game on home ice before — and still saw their series end in five.
They've also been on the road before in the 2012 playoffs.
They've yet to lose, going 7-for-7.
Doan, the Coyotes' captain, has heard about this streak.
"What is it, nine in a row or something? Everyone's talking about it. There's two ways to look at it: They're either due to lose, or we have to do something to stop them. Law of averages says they're going to eventually lose on the road," said Doan in the postgame presser. "Next game would be a bad one to lose."
Game 4 offered the perfect conditions for the Coyotes to delay what the majority of hockey fans feel is the inevitable, as the Kings were a dud while the Coyotes received strong performances from Doan, goalie Mike Smith and the defense in front of him.
But as "Coyote Ugly" as it was, Phoenix plays for another playoff game — thanks in no small measure to its captain. "We had a huge game from Doaner, and it trickled down through the lineup. Every guy knew he was going," said Smith.
It wasn't pretty. The Coyotes took eight minor penalties, survived six power plays and surrendered 36 shots on goal — the Kings attempted 76 shots to the Coyotes' 44.
But the Coyotes cut down on the Kings' quality chances and second chances in front of Smith, who posted his third shutout of the playoffs.
"We can't give them free second opportunities," said Doan.
Meanwhile, Doan provided all the offense they'd need. His first goal snapped an 0-for-12 power-play slump for the Coyotes in the final:
Doan said on CBC he was looking for Radim Vrbata in front, but once the Coyotes forward pulled away his only option was to shoot on Jonathan Quick.
On the second goal, Doan didn't know the puck actually hit the back of the net. Or, to be specific, the camera in the back of the net.
Coach Dave Tippett praised Doan's leadership after the game.
"Two goals, but you don't see all the things that happened behind the scenes, in the dressing room how inspirational he is for the guys there," he said. "When you can do the behind-the-scenes stuff and back it up on the ice, that speaks volumes about the leader that he is."
Tippett said Doan went into the game thinking "we don't want to be swept," and that was the will he showed in the game — and that will carried over to his teammates.
"We had more people jump into the battle tonight," Tippett said.
"We put too much into this to let it slip away."
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