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COYOTES PREPARE FOR AVALANCHE

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes practiced Monday for the first time since Saturday’s game against Los Angeles. Sensing his team needed a break after a hectic holiday week that included visits to three cities, Head Coach Wayne Gretzky gave his players Sunday off.


“I just think our guys were tired,” Gretzky said Monday, reflecting on Saturday’s 4-0 home loss to the Kings. “You could see that as hard as they were trying (on Saturday) nothing was happening and when they did make something happen their goaltender made some key saves. It was just not our night. But I liked the way we practiced today. The guys worked hard. It was a good practice.”

Next up for the Coyotes is a home game on New Year’s Eve against the Colorado Avalanche. The puck will drop an hour earlier than usual, at 6 p.m.

The Coyotes are hoping to cure their recent power-play woes in that game. Phoenix was 0 for 9 against Los Angeles. Fatigue from playing four games in six nights and dealing with a lengthy travel delay while trying to get back to Phoenix from Denver was a factor.

“Going 0 for 9 on the power play, that’s just (the lack of) execution of the guys who are out there,” captain Shane Doan said. “It’s just not acceptable. But at the same time, in 14 years that I’ve played I’ve never had a Christmas (travel week) like that. It was definitely more difficult than normal.”

RAMPAGE ON A RAMPAGE

Phoenix’s top affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, is on a hot streak having won nine of it past 11 games.

Goaltender Josh Tordjman has won nine of his past 10 starts and likely will be in the running for the American Hockey League’s player of the month award for December.

Meanwhile, center Joel Perrault is averaging a point per game since returning from a concussion he suffered before training camp. Perrault has notched three goals and eight assists.

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