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Posted On Friday, 04.26.2013 / 3:30 PM

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

Giguere in net as Avalanche face Coyotes

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Here are the lineups for the Phoenix Coyotes' regular season home finale against the Colorado Avalanche. Rob Klinkhammer will be back in the lineup for Phoenix after missing Wednesday's 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks with an upper-body injury.

Colorado will be without Milan Hejduk, who will sit out Friday before playing what could be his final game with the Avalanche on Saturday in Denver. Jean-Sebastien Giguere will get the start in goal.


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Posted On Wednesday, 04.24.2013 / 3:06 PM

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

Punchless offense has Coyotes facing elimination

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes are all but mathematically eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the most important number that led to their fate is zero.

Zero goals. Zero offense. Zero chance.

The Coyotes were shut out for the ninth time this season -- and the seventh time in 23 road games -- in a 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday that slammed the door on their last realistic path to the playoffs. That game looked an awful lot like the game that reduced their postseason chances to long-shot status, a 4-0 home loss to the San Jose Sharks nine days ago.

San Jose and Phoenix meet again Wednesday at Jobing.com Arena, but with a lot less on the line.
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Posted On Monday, 04.15.2013 / 3:14 PM

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

Coyotes need wins now, starting with game vs. Sharks

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Phoenix Coyotes remain in control of their playoff destiny, but the grip on that control is getting looser and looser.

The Coyotes' 1-1-1 road trip to Western Canada left them alive in the playoff race but in need of a great finish -- likely 12 points out their final seven games -- beginning Monday night when they open a two-game homestand against the San Jose Sharks at Jobing.com Arena.

The Coyotes swept three games and all six points on their past homestand, and need to do the same against the Sharks and St. Louis Blues on Thursday to have any serious chance to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a fourth straight year. Points in eight of the past nine games (5-1-3) have kept them afloat but even overtime losses aren't good enough anymore.


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Posted On Saturday, 04.06.2013 / 3:34 PM

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

Smith returns to Coyotes crease

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Phoenix Coyotes are going for a crucial sweep of their three-game homestand tonight, a cause that will be helped by the return of their No. 1 goalie between the pipes against the Colorado Avalanche.

Mike Smith, who hasn’t played since suffering an upper-body injury in a collision with Vancouver’s Alexander Edler on March 23, is back in the lineup as the Coyotes try to stay in the playoff hunt and extend their points streak to six games. Phoenix is 3-0-2 since a troubling stretch in which they lost six straight games.

“I expect him to play like a No. 1 goaltender,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said of Smith. “Last year, he missed a few games and when he came back we went on a run and we’re looking for the same thing to happen now.”

Smith hasn’t been the same goalie that led the Coyotes to the franchise’s first Western Conference Final berth last season. Four of his 11 wins are shutouts, but his 2.83 goals-against average and .901 save percentage are a shadow of last season’s 2.21 and .930 numbers.

Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings, the Coyotes gutted out a 4-2 win despite having more than half a dozen players dealing with a nasty flu bug. It’s still running through the team and defensemen Keith Yandle and David Schlemko were unable to skate Saturday morning due to the bug. Tippett said he expects both to be able to play Saturday.

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Posted On Thursday, 04.04.2013 / 3:31 PM

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

Coyotes call up replacements after dealing forwards

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After trading away three forwards at the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday, and still without wing Lauri Korpikoski, the Phoenix Coyotes will have a different look Thursday night when they face the Detroit Red Wings and try to keep their Stanley Cup Playoffs hopes alive.

Matthew Lombardi, Steve Sullivan and Raffi Torres were dealt to the Anaheim Ducks, New Jersey Devils and San Jose Sharks, respectively, so the Coyotes have recalled forwards Chris Brown and Chris Conner to join Paul Bissonnette as replacements against the Red Wings.

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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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