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Posted On Tuesday, 12.16.2014 / 3:40 PM

By Jerry Brown - Correspondent / - 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 - Correspondent / - 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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Posted On Thursday, 12.11.2014 / 2:56 PM

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

At the Rink: Predators at Coyotes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With six losses in the past seven games and a franchise-record seven straight losses on home ice, the Arizona Coyotes are looking for any scrap of good news to help spin them out of a month-long funk.

Forward David Moss alone isn't the cure for what ails the Coyotes, but having the veteran back after a 22-game absence from a hand injury will help the team in several areas when they play the Nashville Predators Thursday.

Moss has been out since blocking a shot with his hand on Oct. 23. Coach Dave Tippett will put him right into the mix on a line with Sam Gagner and Tobias Rieder. The Coyotes are scrounging for offense after being outscored 12-2 over the past home games.

"(Moss) is a smart player. He plays in a lot of different situations and really adds some stability for us," Tippett said. "He's a real good veteran pro; a real good glue guy. Anyone he plays with, it seems to help them along. Hopefully he can jump back in there and get up to speed in a hurry."

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Posted On Saturday, 12.06.2014 / 3:10 PM

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

At the Rink: Bruins at Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The struggling Arizona Coyotes made several roster moves on Friday and the new-look lineup will be on display when they try to snap their six-game home losing streak against the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

The Coyotes were shut out 4-0 by the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, extending their scoreless streak to 172 minutes at Gila River Arena, and Arizona general manager Don Maloney made some changes.

Center Kyle Chipchura was waived, defenseman David Schlemko was sent to Portland of the American Hockey League and forward Rob Klinkhammer was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenseman Philip Samuelsson. The Coyotes recalled forward Jordan Martinook and defenseman Andrew Campbell from Portland and each will be in the lineup against the Bruins.

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Posted On Thursday, 12.04.2014 / 3:18 PM

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

At the Rink: Kings at Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes have 10 wins in the first 26 games of the season. Almost a third of those wins have come against the Edmonton Oilers, the only team with fewer points than the Coyotes in the Western Conference standings.

The Coyotes' 6-8-1 road record doesn't stick out as a huge problem. The big concern for Arizona is their 4-5-2 record at home, especially during November when they went 1-3-2 at Gila River Arena. They've lost five in a row at home (0-3-2) as they open a five-game, 12-day homestand Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings.

Arizona's best home win of the season came Oct. 11 against the Kings when they rallied from a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 overtime win on Oliver Ekman-Larsson's game-winning goal. But that was the second game of the season, and big efforts like that in Glendale have been hard to come by since then.

"We're home for five games and we have a chance to practice and bring more structure back to our game," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "We've had a very tough stretch here (11 games in 18 days) and we're going to try to get some rest and be ready to play and get the best results."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.29.2014 / 2:29 PM

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

At the Rink: Flames at Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. – If the Arizona Coyotes are going to join the Western Conference playoff chase, they have to stop leaving points behind on home ice.

The Coyotes will look to snap a four-game losing streak (0-2-2) at Gila River Arena against the Calgary Flames on Saturday. But it's the way they have been losing these tight, one-goal games that have hurt:

* Nov. 8 against the New York Islanders: Frans Nielsen of New York broke up a scoreless game with 2:31 left to play for a 1-0 win.

* Nov. 11 against the Dallas Stars: With a chance to win the game with a late power play, the Coyotes allowed Ryan Garbutt to go end-to-end on a game-winning shorthanded goal with 1:16 left for a 4-3 win.

* Nov. 18 against the Washington Capitals: The Coyotes held Washington to one goal in regulation, but Eric Fehr's overtime winner stole the extra point with a 2-1 victory.

* Nov. 25 against the Colorado Avalanche: The Coyotes blew a 3-0 first period lead, and the game-tying and game-winning goal for Colorado each came off Arizona deflections for a 4-3 win in overtime.

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.25.2014 / 3:45 PM

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

At the Rink: Avalanche at Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Two teams fighting to get back the Western Conference pack have missed a key cog in their lineup of late.

The Arizona Coyotes will get theirs back Tuesday. The Colorado Avalanche will have to wait.

Martin Hanzal will be in the lineup for the Coyotes when they play the Avalanche at Gila River Arena.

Hanzal, who missed seven of the first 22 games with several injuries, will play between Rob Klinkhammer and Martin Erat reuniting a line that has had success.

The Avalanche hoped to have their leading goal scorer, Alex Tanguay in the lineup. But Tanguay, who was hit in the face by a slap shot from Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals five days ago, will miss his second straight game Tuesday. He was able to practice Monday and took part in the morning skate with a full face shield but won’t suit up.

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.18.2014 / 2:46 PM

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

At the Rink: Capitals at Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes won a game against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, but the cost of that victory was two players who will be out of the lineup Tuesday against the Washington Capitals.

Defenseman Brandon Gormley scored his first NHL goal and played a key role in the 2-1 win, but he suffered a lower-body injury late in the third period. Wing Rob Klinkhammer left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period and didn't return.

Gormley stayed on the bench after he was hit from behind along the boards by Edmonton's Benoit Pouliot, but had to be helped off the ice by his teammates after the victory celebration.

Gormley was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. Arizona coach Dave Tippett said Gormley will miss "about a week," but was cautiously optimistic the injury won't be serious. Further tests later Tuesday will tell more.

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.11.2014 / 3:10 PM

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

At the Rink: Stars at Coyotes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Coming in to face the Arizona Coyotes with a seven-game winless streak on their backs, the Dallas Stars are stirring up the roster in search of a spark.

The Stars shipped veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday in exchange for forward Travis Moen, and defenseman John Klingberg will make his NHL debut at Gila River Arena as Dallas looks to end an 0-4-3 slide that ruined an optimistic 4-2-1 start to the season.

Moen will join the Stars on Wednesday.

Klingberg will finally give Dallas a right-handed shot on the back line. He will be paired Alex Goligoski.

The Coyotes know they will be facing a desperate group of Stars, but Arizona coach Dave Tippett is more concerned with the momentum of his team.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.08.2014 / 2:30 PM

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

At the Rink: Islanders at Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The New York Islanders and Arizona Coyotes each feel really good about themselves, and each are coming off successful trips to Southern California. But only one will have the benefit of rest on their side when they collide in the desert Saturday.

The Islanders were in Arizona watching Friday when the Coyotes rallied from a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 shootout win against the Anaheim Ducks behind goalie Mike Smith's 37 saves, many of highlight quality, and two more in the shootout to shut down the Ducks over the final 56 minutes. 

Smith will be back in the net against New York. He is 4-1-0 record with a 2.36 goals-against average, one shutout and a .924 save percentage in five career games against the Islanders. But it's how he's playing right now, with a 2.21 GAA in his past four starts, with back-to-back wins for the first time this season, that has coach Dave Tippett's interest.

"When we needed big saves he gave us big saves and that's a great sign," Tippett said after the game Friday. "That's really good for the whole psyche of the team when you see him play like that."

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic