Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 1/9/12
While the Coyotes' focus was on Shane Doan's first career hat trick Saturday night in a dominant 5-1 win over the Islanders, the defensive corps took a painful hit. With Adrian Aucoin already on the sidelines after taking a puck to the right eye Thursday night in Los Angeles, the Coyotes lost another defenseman Saturday when David Schlemko suffered a lower-body injury in the second period and didn't return. If neither Aucoin or Schlemko can go on Tuesday, it will be up to young David Runblad to pick up the slack against the NHL's best team, the New York Rangers, in Madison Square Garden. Acquired on Dec. 17 from Ottawa in the Kyle Turris trade, Runblad had an assist in his only game as a Coyote -- a win over Carolina -- but has been a healthy scratch in every game since. On the other side of the injury coin, the return of goalie Mike Smith is making a huge difference. For the second straight game, Smith allowed one goal and he looked very sharp against an Islanders team that had plenty of good scoring chances among their 32 shots. Smith is not only stopping the puck but controlling rebounds nicely. The only one that got by him was on a first-period power play, when a John Tavares shot that he had squeezed between his pads trickled out the other side. Frans Neilsen was waiting on the other side to punch in the goal that tied the game at 1-1. "This was a huge win. I thought we had the effort last game (a 1-0 overtime loss in Los Angeles Thursday), we just came up a little short. We came out in the first five minutes and dominated, then we got away from what we did best. After the first period, we regrouped and had a great two periods after that." QUOTE TO NOTE "I was kind of worried. I skated up to the refs and said, 'Look, it's been a long time, 16 years. Tell Toronto that this may never happen again, so make sure that counts.' " -- Coyotes winger Ray Whitney, as Shane Doan's third goal of the game with 0:01 left on the clock was under video review in Toronto. ROSTER REPORT -- C Kyle Chipchura has played very well in taking the extra ice time left by the injuries to Martin Hanzal and Boyd Gordon, but the Coyotes would like to see a goal or two. He almost got his first as a Coyote on Saturday, but his setup from Ray Whitney on a 3-on-2 rush pinged off both posts behind Islanders G Evgeni Nabokov. Chipchura had no goals in 40 games for Anaheim last season and has now gone 70 NHL games without a goal. -- D Oliver Ekman-Larsson continues to impress. His seventh goal of the season was a beauty Saturday. During a delayed penalty, Radim Vrbata's cross-ice pass found the young Swede trailing the play in stride. Ekman-Larsson picked the far top corner on Nabokov and now leads all Phoenix defensemen with seven goals. -- LW Taylor Pyatt scored his fifth goal of the season and his first in 15 games dating back to Dec. 6 at Nashville. Lauri Korpikoski's nifty pass from behind the net found Pyatt, who took the puck around New York's Tim Wallace and flipped it past Nabokov on the short side. The Coyotes need more production from Pyatt, who had 18 goals last season and is being counted on to provide more offense.
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