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At the Rink blog

Coyotes need better group effort against Kings

Thursday, 10.20.2011 / 4:33 PM

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

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At the Rink blog
Coyotes need better group effort against Kings
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After five games, the Coyotes have a pretty clear picture of what they have to do to be competitive every night this season -- and what kind of effort flat out won't get it done.

In collecting five of six points against Dallas, Nashville and Winnipeg, the Coyotes received contributions from all four lines, killed every enemy power play (16 straight at one point) and got scoring help from their defense.

But in their two losses, the Coyotes weren't even close to the same team. They were outscored 11-5, outshot 87-45 and outclassed by San Jose and Chicago, two speedy and skilled teams they have to frustrate in order to survive.

"The other night, we didn't play well (a 5-2 loss to the Blackhawks), and that has been our sole focus for the last day and a half -- how are we going to get better," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "We have to play well as a group. If we're just a bunch of individuals running around like chickens with their heads cut off, there's not a lot we can do. We need five players working together."

Mike Smith, who has allowed two goals in his last two starts -- an overtime loss in Dallas and a win over Winnipeg, gets the start in goal. The Coyotes are also leaning toward going with speed over size with Patrick O'Sullivan replacing Paul Bissonnette on the fourth line.

Here's how the lineups for Thursday night's game might look:
 
COYOTES
Ray Whitney - Daymond Langkow - Shane Doan
Mikkel Boedker - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Taylor Pyatt - Boyd Gordon - Lauri Korpikoski
Patrick O'Sullivan - Petteri Nokelainen - Raffi Torres

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris
Rostislav Klesla - David Schlemko
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Adrian Aucoin

Mike Smith will be backed up by Jason LaBarbera in net.
 
KINGS
Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Dustin Brown
Ethan Moreau - Jarret Stoll - Brad Richardson
Kyle Clifford - Trevor Lewis - Trent Hunter

Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Rob Scuderi - Jack Johnson
Alec Martinez - Matt Greene

Jonathan Quick will be backed up by Jonathan Bernier in net.
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