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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.02.2013 / 2:30 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Coyotes must make homestand count

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes haven't won three games in a row all season. But if they are going force themselves back into the Western Conference playoff conversation as the final month of the season begins, three home wins this week are all but mandatory.

It begins Tuesday against the surging Los Angeles Kings, who beat the Coyotes twice in Los Angeles during a seven-game losing streak that sent Phoenix's season spiraling south. Phoenix will host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday and Colorado Avalanche on Saturday before playing seven of their final 10 on the road.

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POSTED ON Monday, 03.25.2013 / 3:14 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Smith out, LaBarbera starts Monday for Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If the Phoenix Coyotes are going to snap a season-long five-game losing streak and beat the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, they will have to do it without their No. 1 goaltender.

Mike Smith was not on the ice for Monday's morning stake and hasn't been on the ice since being run by Vancouver's Alexander Edler in the second period of Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Canucks. Jason LaBarbera will make only his second start since Jan. 26, and he steps in at a big moment -- with the Coyotes fading in the Western Conference playoff race, having collected just one point in the last 12 days.


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POSTED ON Thursday, 03.21.2013 / 4:23 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Coyotes hoping return home means return of offense

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Last Thursday the Coyotes departed Phoenix after a win against the Los Angeles Kings sitting in a playoff spot and scoring goals with regularity.

A week later, they return from a road trip where they went 0-3-1, were shut out three times and scored a total of two goals -- both by Shane Doan in a 3-2 loss at Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Now outside of the top eight and struggling, the Coyotes hope a little home cooking will help as they face the banged-up Vancouver Canucks on Thursday at Jobing.com Arena.

The Coyotes went more than 245 minutes without a goal -- the longest drought in franchise history, and pushing Columbus to a shootout Saturday provided them with their only point on the trip. Even Doan's incredible effort against the Kings -- two goals and an NHL single-game high 13 hits -- could keep Los Angeles from sweeping back-to-back games and keeping the Coyotes desperate for a win.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 03.12.2013 / 3:48 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Coyotes might be without Michalek against Kings

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes blocked a season-high 30 shots in Saturday's 2-1 win against the Dallas Stars, but one of them came at a price.

Defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who recorded eight of his 68 blocked shots Saturday, took one off the skate boot during a 5-on-3 Dallas power play and limped off in pain. He didn't practice Monday, skated briefly Tuesday morning and is questionable for Tuesday night's battle with the Los Angeles Kings at Jobing.com Arena.

The Coyotes recalled Chris Summers from Portland of the American Hockey League and he will play if Michalek can't go. Defenseman David Schlemko, out since January with a shoulder injury, is close to returning but not ready yet, according to coach Dave Tippett.

The Coyotes might get back Matthew Lombardi, who missed the win over the Stars. He took part in the early part of the skate and will be a game-time decision. Either way it's a good bet that Portland call-up Rob Klinkhammer will stay in the lineup after his first NHL goal proved to be the game-winner against the Stars.

Mike Smith, off his best game in over a week, is back in goal for his 17th start in the past 18 games.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.09.2013 / 3:47 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Coyotes hope to end losing streak against Stars

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Phoenix Coyotes look to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season Saturday against the Dallas Stars and will have a new face in the lineup with Rob Klinkhammer making his Phoenix debut in place of injured Matthew Lombardi. Klinkhammer has 14 goals and 44 points in 53 games with Portland of the American Hockey League.

Mike Smith will be back in goal. One of his three shutouts this season has come in Glendale against Dallas, a 2-0 blanking on Feb. 2. But Smilth has struggled mightily of late, allowing 18 goals in his past four starts and watching his goals-against average soar to 3.09 and his save percentage sink to .894.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 03.07.2013 / 4:15 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Smith back in net vs. Allen as Coyotes oppose Blues

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes finally get to face another opponent after a unique three-game series with the Anaheim Ducks. After falling 2-0 Wednesday in Anaheim but getting four out of six points in the three games, the Coyotes face the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Goalie Mike Smith, who sat out for the first time in 16 games Wednesday in favor of Jason LaBarbera, will be back in goal. The Coyotes are hoping to have Radim Vrbata (lower body) back in the lineup either against St. Louis or Saturday against the Dallas Stars, and sent Chris Brown back to the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.

The Blues will start Jake Allen in net coming off Tuesday's 6-4 loss at the Los Angeles Kings.

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POSTED ON Monday, 03.04.2013 / 1:04 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Coyotes try to make it two straight over Ducks

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After a very wild, sloppy and spirited game Saturday that featured four ties, several tussles, lots of trash talk and a shootout, the Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks will play the second of three straight games against each other tonight at Jobing.com Arena.

The Coyotes prevailed Saturday for a 5-4 shootout win, with Steve Sullivan tying the game with 6:29 left in regulation and securing the extra point with the only goal of the shootout. The Ducks were playing back-to-back nights and for the fifth time in seven days, so the Coyotes are expecting an even bigger push from one of the NHL's elite teams tonight.

The teams meet again Wednesday in Anaheim.

"It's a little like a playoffs series," Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski said. "And you know they will have some rest and come back hard. We have to be ready."


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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.02.2013 / 2:22 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Coyotes have Brown, Klinkhammer at their disposal

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- With center Martin Hanzal and winger Radim Vrbata now on injured reserve, the Phoenix Coyotes called up forwards Chris Brown and Rob Klinkhammer from the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League.

Either Brown or Klinkhammer could make their Phoenix debuts when they open a rare run of three straight games Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks at Jobing.com Arena.
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POSTED ON Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 1:44 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

With Hanzal, Vrbata out, Coyotes shuffle lines

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes again will be without two of their top six forwards with Martin Hanzal (upper body) and Radim Vrbata (lower body) back on the ice Thursday, but not ready for a game.

Defenseman Derek Morris, who has missed the past two weeks with an upper-body injury sustained in a Feb. 14 loss to the Nashville Predators, will return to the lineup to partner with Keith Yandle.

With Hanzal and Vrbata out, coach Dave Tippett has continued to juggle his forwards. Shane Doan will start with Matthew Lombardi and Raffi Torres, with Lauri Korpikoski joining Mikkel Boedker and Antoine Vermette. Steve Sullivan was with checkers Boyd Gordon and David Moss, and Paul Bissonnette, riding a career-high three-game point streak, sticks with the clicking line of Kyle Chipchura and Nick Johnson.

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POSTED ON Monday, 02.18.2013 / 2:13 PM

By Jerry Brown -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Vrbata joins Coyotes' list of injuries

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After a week or so of decent health, the Phoenix Coyotes are back down to all hands on deck for Monday's game with the Calgary Flames.

Leading scorer Radim Vrbata is the latest to join the list of the sidelined, suffering an upper-body injury early in Saturday’s 5-3 win over Columbus. Defensemen Derek Morris and David Schlemko are also down and center Matthew Lombardi is close but not quite ready to return from his upper-body injury. That means all 18 healthy skaters will be in the lineup.

Phoenix is 6-2-2 over the last 10 games and has six wins in the last eight games. But the Coyotes don't play again until Saturday in Edmonton and a loss to the Flames would stay with them for awhile.


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For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory