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Consistent with concepts, Coyotes confident results are on the horizon

Arizona remains committed to its approach in seeking first win Thursday against Vegas

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes will continue ahead with the same approach utilized in their first two games of the season when they host the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night at Gila River Arena.


Same mindset, same concepts, same hard work.

Maybe with a little less thinking.

At first glance, that approach may seem like an oddity seeing as the Coyotes enter their third game of the year with an 0-2-0 record. They're still without a win, sure, but both of their games played thus far have bred positive feedback from players and coaches.

As head coach Rick Tocchet put it following Saturday's 1-0 loss to the Boston Bruins, the team "did everything right except score."

The Coyotes have outshot their opponent in each of their first two games by a combined 68-55 margin. They have been pleased with their offensive zone time, their ability to create chances, and their stable stance on defense.

"I just want us to continue pushing," Tocchet said after Wednesday's practice. "In Anaheim I thought we were pretty good, and we were really good against Boston. You're just looking for consistency, the same things we've been doing, to out-chance the other team, get into scoring positions, and defend well. Success will come when you do those things."

There have been a number of Grade-A scoring opportunities for a team that has strung together an attack leading to four or five breakaways and numerous odd-man rushes.

Still, the only goal to come so far has been off the stick of Derek Stepan , who put the finishing touches on an elegant passing sequence midway through the team's opening contest last Thursday night in Anaheim.

"Sometimes you run into hot goalies," Tocchet added. Anaheim's John Gibson, now 3-0 on the season, made 32 saves in the Ducks' 2-1 win over the Coyotes while Boston's Jaroslav Halak pitched a 35-save shutout in the Bruins' 1-0 victory.

"You just have to keep doing the right things to score goals," Tocchet said. "If you're a net-front guy, then stay in front, don't leave the net. If you're a slot guy, present your stick. If you're a defenseman, move your feet and shoot the puck hard. You can't do that stuff every once in a while, you've got to do it consistently. That's how teams score goals, you do the right things consistently."

When a team is not scoring, it can become a mental issue. Everything is forced and the pressure builds.

"It's always easier when you're scoring goals," said Oliver Ekman-Larsson on Wednesday. "It'll come, I'm confident about it. We have a lot of good goal scorers in this room. When you think about it too much, you squeeze your stick a little too hard and hold onto the puck a little too long, so we have to go out and just not think about it. I think that's the best thing to do."

This stretch, for the Coyotes' captain, does not ring a bell in relation to the team's scoring woes from the beginning of last season, when they were held without a goal in three of their first four games.

"No, no, not at all. I feel like we've been playing much better hockey this year, it's not even close," he said. "Even though we haven't gotten a win yet, we've just got to continue playing like we have been. It's just a matter of time."

And hopefully, for the team's results in both the scoring department and win column, Thursday night's the time.

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