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Posted On Thursday, 01.08.2015 / 3:22 PM

By Jerry Brown - Correspondent / - 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."

Posted On Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 3:45 PM

By Jerry Brown - Correspondent / - 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.

Posted On Saturday, 01.03.2015 / 3:30 PM

By Jerry Brown - Correspondent / - 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."

Posted On Monday, 12.29.2014 / 2:38 PM

By Jerry Brown - Correspondent / - 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.

Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 8:00 PM

By Jerry Brown - Correspondent / - 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.

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."

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."

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."

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.

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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