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Posted On Thursday, 01.15.2015 / 2:32 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flames at Coyotes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes get one forward back but will be without their captain Thursday against the Calgary Flames.

Forward Shane Doan won't play after he was hit by a slap shot from Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. Doan gutted through two periods, scoring the game-tying goal in the second, before finally leaving in the third of a 3-2 loss.

Center Martin Hanzal returns after missing the past four games with an upper-body injury sustained in a 6-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Jan. 3. Hanzal tied a career high with four points against Columbus.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 2:52 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sharks at Coyotes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes have allowed 134 goals in the first 41 games of the season, a statistic that has been hard for coach Dave Tippett to swallow. And with his team a lap behind the contenders for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he's ready to see what the future offers.

Defenseman Philip Samuelsson, acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Rob Klinkhammer trade last month, was recalled from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League on Tuesday and could play Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks.

Samuelsson is the son of two-time Stanley Cup winning defenseman Ulf Samuelsson and the brother of Henrik Samuelsson, chosen by the Coyotes with the 27th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, who also is playing in Portland.

"The first half of the season didn't go anywhere near the way anyone expected it would," Tippett said. "The goal is to get better. You can either keep going with what you have or you can try some things different. It's time to try some things different."

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Posted On Saturday, 01.10.2015 / 2:11 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Senators at Coyotes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes are in the midst of a strange stretch. They have won five of the past seven games, but lost by a combined 12-0 score in the two losses, tempering the enthusiasm of the victories as they face the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

A 4-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets Thursday, however, came with two important positives. The struggling Arizona penalty kill unit, without center Martin Hanzal and defenseman Zbynek Michalek stopped all seven Winnipeg penalties, and goalie Mike Smith won for the second time in three starts, regaining confidence halfway through what has been a miserable season.

Smith is now 7-16-2 for the season, but said he feels he has found something in the past three games that could put him back on track.

"This was one of my best games. There haven't been many (to choose from) but this was good," Smith said. "I've felt a lot more comfortable in practice and we've talked about implementing that in games, and the last three you can feel that. I feel like I've really turned the corner in the last couple of weeks and got a little bit of swagger back in my game."

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Posted On Thursday, 01.08.2015 / 3:22 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Jets at Coyotes

SCOTTSDALE Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes will be without two of their more physical players Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets.

Center Martin Hanzal and defenseman Zbynek Michalek are out with upper-body injures.

Hanzal will miss his second game with an injury sustained late in a 6-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. Hanzal tied a personal best with four points in the game, but was unable to speak with reporters after the game and unable to play Tuesday after practicing Monday. He was developing good chemistry with wing Sam Gagner of late and the lack of offensive punch was noticeable in a 6-0 loss to the Blues on Tuesday.

"Marty is out tonight. Don't rule him out for Saturday (against the Ottawa Senators) but he's not quite there," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "Both he and Michalek are key players for us, but it opens an opportunity for someone else to see what they can do."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 3:45 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blues at Coyotes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Arizona Coyotes have earned some of their most impressive wins of the season during a run of four victories in their past five games. But they know it will take another high-level effort to continue the run against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

The Blues, led by the top line of Alexander Steen, T.J. Oshie and David Backes, come into the game playing at a high level. They have combined for eight goals and 20 points since being reunited for the past five games and dominated a 7-2 win against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. Oshie had a hat trick and joined Steen with four points in the victory.

The Coyotes and Blues have played once this season, when the Coyotes allowed four power-play goals in a 6-1 loss on Oct. 18.

"The Blues are a hard-working team coming off a real strong win over San Jose and we know what they are all about," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.03.2015 / 3:30 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Coyotes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Arizona Coyotes goalie Devan Dubnyk, a pleasant surprise this season at 9-4-2 with a 2.70 goals-against average and .918 save percentage, has started the past four games.

The Coyotes will give No. 1 goalie Mike Smith a chance to break out of his season-long funk when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets at Gila River Arena on Saturday.

Smith, who carried Arizona to the Western Conference Final in 2012 and played just as well late last season, is 5-15-2 record with a 3.48 goals-against average, leaving him searching for answers and on the bench watching.

Dubnyk allowed all the goals in a 6-0 loss against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday, providing coach Dave Tippett an opportunity to give Smith another try.

"You want to be in games and you want to help your team win and contribute," Smith said. "Obviously it's been tough to be on the other side of it, although I've been there before. Having said that, [Dubnyk] has deserved to play. He's given the team some wins and he's played better than I have. Selfishly I want to be in there."


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Posted On Monday, 12.29.2014 / 2:38 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flyers at Coyotes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Philadelphia Flyers will have goalie Steve Mason back in the lineup when they play the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.

Mason has missed the past three games after sustaining a back injury during practice Dec. 19. He was able to practice here Sunday and will start as the Flyers try to win for the fourth time in five tries during a season-long, eight-game road trip.

Mason's 6-10-5 record still reflects Philadelphia's poor start to the season, but his 2.49 goals-against average and .921 save percentage show he's also been a big part of its resurgence.

The Coyotes have had an unsettled goalie situation all year, but Devan Dubnyk has control of the net right now and is greatly responsible for Arizona's first winning streak since it won three in a row Nov. 2-7. Dubnyk will make his sixth start in the past seven games against the Flyers.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 8:00 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Ducks at Coyotes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Anaheim Ducks are already looking down at the rest of the NHL with 51 points, the first team to ever top 50 points by the Christmas break.

The Ducks didn't skate Saturday and were again without first-line right wing Corey Perry, who's been sidelined since Dec. 5 because of a knee sprain. He skated in Anaheim on Saturday but didn't make the trip.

Defenseman Francois Beauchemin (finger) will return for the Ducks.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.16.2014 / 3:40 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Oilers at Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While the Edmonton Oilers look to turn around a dismal season with coaches Craig MacTavish and Todd Nelson moving behind the bench Tuesday, the Arizona Coyotes have a few ex-Oilers who would like to turn things around against their former team.

Center Sam Gagner, who sat as a healthy scratch Saturday as the Coyotes lost 4-3 in overtime against the Minnesota Wild, is back in the lineup. And goalie Devan Dubnyk, who has lost three straight decisions since starting the season 5-0-1, will get a second straight start as the Coyotes try to snap a five-game losing streak overall (0-4-1) and a nine-game losing streak at Gila River Arena (0-6-3).

Goalie Ben Scrivens will start for Edmonton.

The Coyotes have 10 wins this season, and three of them have come against the Oilers. Arizona's last win came Dec. 1 at Edmonton (5-2), with Tobias Rieder scoring a pair of shorthanded goals on the same penalty kill to give Arizona a boost. Since then, the Coyotes have been outscored 23-8 and managed just one point. This is the finale of a five-game homestand and the last chance to get a win.

"When you have a change like that they're looking to get a spark out of it," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said of the Oilers. "They'll be full of energy trying to impress their new coach."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.13.2014 / 3:29 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Wild at Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Scoring was a cause of concern before the season began for the Arizona Coyotes and has proven true during a disappointing 10-16-3 start.

The recent 1-6-1 slump is part of a string of eight consecutive home losses at Gila River Arena (0-6-2). The last four home games, including a 5-1 loss against the Nashville Predators Thursday, have seen the Coyotes outscored 17-3 and losing each game by at least three goals. Most of the third periods have been non-competitive.

But coach Dave Tippett, who has avoided long losing streaks during his coaching career by emphasizing core values, continues to hammer home the same point to his team: Until the strengths of the Coyotes – defense and goaltending – start to improve, any offensive improvement is even further away.

"To win in this league on a consistent basis you have to be able to defend and you need good goaltending – which both play into good penalty killing," Tippett said. "Those are the aspects that make you win, and we haven’t had enough of that this season."

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Quote of the Day

I've been so fortunate, blessed, to play a long time with some great players and be on power plays, play in some great cities and stuff. It's been fun.

— Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla on tying Dino Ciccarelli for 46th place on the NHL's all-time list with his 1,200th career point after their win vs. the Predators on Friday