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Coyotes Embrace Lengthy Road Trip

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes practiced Sunday afternoon at Gila River Arena as final preparation for a five-game trip to the Eastern Time Zone that begins with a near cross-country flight out of Arizona on Monday morning.

After two home losses in a row, the consensus around the rink is that perhaps now is an ideal time for a lengthy out-of-town journey.

“Obviously it’s early in the year but we’ve got to get back on the winning track,” forward Mikkel Boedker said after Sunday’s practice. “It’s always good to get away from home a little bit, and get that team bonding and team building. Let’s see if we can find some life again like we had the first three games.”

The Coyotes will leave Arizona with a 3-2-0 record after five games.

“These last two games we haven’t been very good at the beginning so we’ve been talking about that a lot,” defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson said. “We know that we’re going to have to be better at the start and that’s going to give us a better chance to win hockey games. We just have to keep playing with confidence. I think that’s going to help our group too.”

Head Coach Dave Tippett said forward Joe Vitale, who was injured during a fight with Boston defenseman Kevan Miller on Saturday, will miss some games and may not even travel with the team on Monday. Meanwhile, forward Jordan Martinook, who missed Saturday’s game because of injury, will accompany the team on the trip.

“We’re hoping that he’s going to skate on Tuesday morning (in New Jersey) and then we’ll reevaluate him there,” Tippett said.

Here’s a glance at Arizona’s five-game trip:

► Tuesday, Oct. 20

At New Jersey

The Coyotes will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak at the Prudential Center, in which they’ve been outscored 11-2.

It will be another milestone game for Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who is slated to play in his 1,400th NHL game.

Former Coyotes David Schlemko, John Moore and Lee Stempniak are playing for New Jersey this season.

► Thursday, Oct. 22

At New York Rangers:

The Coyotes will be seeking their first win at Madison Square Garden since 2007-08 – a span of six games during which they’ve posted a 0-3-3 record.

It will be the first game between the teams since the trade that sent defenseman Keith Yandle to New York for forward Anthony Duclair.

Yandle played 558 games for the Coyotes and led the team in points in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Duclair has posted four goals and two assists in his first five games with the Coyotes.

► Saturday, Oct. 24

At Ottawa

This match-up pits two of the NHL’s best offensive defensemen: Ekman-Larsson and Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson. The Swedes are pals and enjoy competing against each other.

Ditto for Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone and his brother Mark, a forward who plays for Ottawa, and Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek and his brother Milan, a forward who plays for Ottawa, too.

► Monday, Oct. 26

At Toronto:

The Coyotes are 4-0-1 in their past five games at Toronto but this will be the first time they will play the Maple Leafs with Head Coach Mike Babcock behind Toronto’s bench.

The Toronto media likely will swarm around Coyotes rookie Max Domi, who grew up around the Leafs. His father, Tie Domi, played the bulk of his NHL career with Toronto.

Coyotes goalie Mike Smith is from nearby Kingston, Ontario, and he has won five of eight decisions against the Leafs in his career.

► Tuesday, Oct. 27

At Boston:

The Coyotes will be seeking revenge in this game after losing to the Bruins, 5-3, on Saturday night in Glendale.

This game will be the second game of Arizona’s third back-to-back scenario already this season.

The Coyotes are 3-2-0 in their last five games at TD Garden, but they haven’t won there since 2010-11.

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