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At the Rink blog

Streaky Vrbata has been red-hot for Coyotes

Monday, 12.05.2011 / 5:14 PM

By Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Streaky Vrbata has been red-hot for Coyotes
CHICAGO -- After a slow start scoring goals this season, Phoenix Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata has been red hot at finding the back of the net.

He leads the team with 12 goals and is tied for the points lead with 22, but 11 of those goals have come in the past 16 games. He's also got a stat line of 11-8-19 in his past 17 games heading into Monday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center -- where he scored a goal and added an assist on Nov. 29 in a 4-1 win.

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett has urged Vrbata to shoot the puck more in the past, but it's more than just firing shots that’s working for the 30-year old Vrbata.

"Shooting more is one thing, but (Vrbata is) shooting to score more," Tippett said. "He's a guy that finds lots of shots, but when he's on top of his game he's got a little extra oomph to shoot to score. He finds opportunities. When they're going in for him, it seems like he's got that little extra zip on it. When the puck's not going in, it just doesn't have that same pop."

The problem is getting that "pop" to show up more consistently off Vrbata's stick.

"He goes in stretches," Tippett said. "He's a bit of a streaky guy. Like all goal scorers, sometimes the puck goes in for you and sometimes it doesn't. When he's on, he can be pretty good."

Quote of the Day

One player does not make your team. One player can help your team, but one player does not make your team. We're not a bare-bones organization.

— Columbus Blue Jackets president John Davidson
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