Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 11/29/11
The Coyotes needed a shot in the arm. Daymond Langkow needed a sense of normalcy. Player and team helped each other Saturday night as Langkow notched two assists in his first game back since his mother passed away on Nov. 8 and the Coyotes bounced back from a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks on Friday with a shutout of their own, 3-0 over Dallas on Saturday. Langkow's mother, Vivian, died in Phoenix at the age of 54, and the last three weeks have been about shock, sorrow and healing for her oldest son. He flew back to Edmonton for the funeral, consoled the family and thought about playing his first hockey game without his mom watching. "I didn't know what to expect. I just tried to prepare myself as best I could and it felt good," Langkow said. "I'm starting to feel better. Unfortunately, it's part of life but you have to battle through it and I think the best way to do that is to get back with your regular routine. It definitely feels good to be back with the guys." Langkow was awarded the player of the game by his teammates -- a gaudy, WWE wrestling belt bought online by assistant captain Keith Yandle this summer -- and one of the most popular Coyotes shared a lot of hugs and close moments after the game. "I can't say enough good things about him as a man, let alone a hockey player. The type of person that he is and the strength he has is remarkable," Coyotes captain and Langkow's close friend Shane Doan said. "I'm privileged to be his friend, and to get to know him and see him play the way he did tonight makes you so happy for him." After blowing leads in the final 61 seconds of regulation and losing in overtime to Dallas twice earlier this season, the Coyotes played a full 60 minutes Saturday and a 26-save shutout from ex-Star Mike Smith made sure there would be no implosion this time. "We need a boost and Langkow came in and gave us some real good minutes," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "He's a real solid veteran player who recognizes what he needs to do on the ice and does it well. He's a very well-liked, well-respected guy. "I'm sure there were a lot of (pats on the back) in there tonight." NOTES, QUOTES --Phoenix's penalty killing has gone from exemplary to downright scary. A night after stopping Vancouver's top-ranked power play all five chances -- including 1:31 of 5-on-3 time -- the Coyotes handled the Dallas power play easily on two opportunities and have now killed 36 of the last 38 enemy power plays. They allowed only eight goals on 73 chances this season (89 percent) and three of those power plays came opening night at San Jose. Since then, the PK unit is 62-for-67 (92.5 percent). --The Coyotes have avoided any kind of an extended losing streak this season and were at it again on Saturday. The win over Dallas improved their record to 8-1-1 after a loss this season. "It's a huge bounce-back game for us,"Langkow said. "It was a tough one last night but those games happen. You don't want to have it slide and start losing games, things can snowball and you start to get out of it." --Langkow's return not only helped his line (Mikkel Boedker scored in the first period), it allowed Tippett to put Ray Whitney back with Czech running mates Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata. That line hooked up for a second-period goal, with Vrbata feeding Whitney for his seventh goal of the season. Whitney is now two goals shy of 350 in his 20-year NHL career and 56 points shy of 1,000. "I'm comfortable playing with everyone on this team when it comes to lines, but Marty and Vrby have a lot of skill and play a European style that fits what I like to do pretty well," Whitney said. "We aren't always together, but it seems like when we are things work out." ROSTER REPORT --D Keith Yandle is starting to come around. After notching a goal and an assist on Wednesday in the win over Anaheim, Yandle had helpers on each of Phoenix's first two goals on Saturday and had a plus-3 for the night to get back to even for the season. Yandle now leads the team with 13 assists. --D Michal Rozsival has not yet returned to practice and remains on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. Rozsival suffered a facial injury Oct. 8 in San Jose when a slap shot off the stick of Patrick Marleau deflected off a stick and into Rozsival's face.
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