It's been a frustrating playoff series for the Phoenix Coyotes, and no one has been more frustrated than captain Shane Doan. He was tossed out of Game 2 on a boarding call. He was tackled WWE-style by Drew Doughty in the final moments of Game 3 and wound up in the box with him. He had plenty of scoring chances, but pulled the trigger either too late or not at all.
But in Game 4, with his team on the brink of elimination and with Los Angeles poised to celebrate its first trip to the Stanley Cup finals in 19 years, Doan refused to lose and gave his team a glimmer of hope with the only two goals of a 2-0 Phoenix win that represented their best effort of the series. And it was a good example of how the 35-year-old Doan can still be a big-time player when his energy is correctly channeled.
"I think I might have been caught up a little bit in trying to be overly physical in the other games," Doan said. "I had opportunities to play with the puck, make plays, take the puck to the net in the last couple games and didn't do it as well. I think that was a big part of our game."
Doan scored his first goal on a rare successful Phoenix power play, sweeping a backhander under Jonathan Quick's arm in the first period. Goal No. 2 came off a winning Antoine Vermette faceoff, as Doan rifled a shot under the bar and off the TV camera so quickly a video review was needed to confirm the goal.
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett admitted the two goals were huge, but only a portion of what the 16-year veteran brought to the table.
"You don't see all the things that happened behind the scenes in the dressing room, inspiration for the guys there, how much he cares about this team and winning," Tippett said. "When you can do that behind-the-scenes stuff, bag it up with the on-the-ice stuff, it speaks volumes for who he is.
"We don't have to sit here and talk about Shane Doan. Our players know, the league knows how strong-willed a guy he is. He went into this game thinking, 'We don't want to be swept.' That was the effort he put forth."
Doan's two goals and Mike Smith's 36-save shutout were enough to extend the season to Game 5 on Tuesday night. The captain and the goalie will need more help if the Coyotes want one more trip to California this year.