GLENDALE – The Coyotes took off for a three-game trip to Western Canada on Monday hoping to regain confidence lost during a recent stretch of games in which they’ve posted a 1-3-1 record.
Phoenix will begin its trip on Tuesday night against Edmonton at Rexall Place where they are 6-1-1 over the past four seasons, and where they have earned at least one point in seven straight games. Games at Calgary and Vancouver follow on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
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We’re going to be going into some buildings, (and) home teams play with lots of energy and they have the last change,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said “… We need everybody to play well, play solid.”
The Coyotes will be hoping to avoid another slow start on Tuesday; they’ve been outscored 7-1 in the first period during the five-game slump.
“Don’t give up goals against would be a good start,” Tippett said regarding ending the slide. “To do that, you have to compete hard and be ready to start the game, and that’s what we have to continue to pound away at. (Falling behind) takes you right out of structure... you have to take chances to try to get yourself back into the game (and) you open up yourself more. We’ve had some games this year where we’ve actually gotten away with it. But when you get away with it, sometimes you don’t learn lessons. Now we’re starting to get a few of these lessons taught to us, so hopefully they’re lessons that we learn and can take it moving forward.”
Tippett said the Coyotes must play "solid road games" this week. By that, he means: “You’ve got to do things well, where you don’t beat yourself. That’s discipline, that’s puck play, that’s defending well. All those little factors that will give you the best percentage of winning - we have to do well,” he said.
• Forward Lauri Korpikoski, who has missed the past five games because of an upper-body injury, accompanied the team on the trip. So did defenseman Zbynek Michalek, who has missed the past six games because of a lower-body injury.
Tippett said it’s possible Korpikoski could play on the trip. The likelihood of Michalek playing, he said, is not as good.
• The Coyotes on Monday again assigned defenseman Rostislav Klesla to their American Hockey League team in Portland, Maine. They also assigned newly-signed forward Gilbert Brule to Portland, too.