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Coyotes Weekly: The Champs, Leighton's Inspiration, Prospects' Success

Arizona defeats Washington and St. Louis, Leighton Accardo sparks emotion, Jan Jenik and John Farinacci earn accolades

by Alex Kinkopf @AEKinkopf / Coyotes Weekly

THE CHAMPS, LEIGHTON'S INSPIRATION, PROSPECTS' SUCCESS

When you face defending Stanley Cup championship teams of yore, you're in the spotlight.

Arizona got a heavy dose of the spotlight to start the past week, playing the previous two league champs on back-to-back nights on the road.

In turn, the Coyotes became the first team in NHL history to defeat the last two Stanley Cup champions on back-to-back nights in road settings, topping both the Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues in a matter of 24 hours in games that each extended to a shootout.

A 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, however, muffled a bit of the thunder.

They bounced back soon thereafter, setting an important tone to begin a stretch that sees them play Pacific Division opponents seven times over an eight-game span.

A shutout win over the Calgary Flames put an exclamation point on a rather successful week, one that garnered attention from the public eye.

That victory over the Flames was powered by the strength, courage, and inspiration of eight-year-old Leighton Accardo, who is undergoing treatment as she fights stage IV cancer. Accardo, a defenseman for the 8U Arizona Hockey Union Knights, was the Coyotes' special guest for Saturday's annual Hockey Fights Cancer game.

Video: Cancer fighter Leighton Accardo drops puck in Arizona

She gave the team a pre-game pep talk, joined the team for warm-ups, was introduced on the ice for the starting lineup, and won the ceremonial face-off against Calgary's captain Mark Giordano.

"Our hero," Oliver Ekman-Larsson said of Accardo, who received the game pelt after the win, awarded to the team's player of the game.

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PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

LAST WEEK'S RESULTS

  • Monday, November 11 at Washington Capitals: W (4-3) F/SO - RECAP
  • Tuesday, November 12 at St. Louis Blues: W (3-2) F/SO - RECAP
  • Thursday, November 14 at Minnesota Wild: L (3-2) - RECAP
  • Saturday, November 16 vs. Calgary Flames: W (3-0) - RECAP

CURRENT RECORD

  • 12-7-2 (26 Points; 2nd-Place, Pacific Division)

THE WEEK AHEAD

  • Monday, November 18 vs. Los Angeles Kings: 7:00 PM
  • Thursday, November 21 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs: 7:00 PM
  • Saturday, November 23 at Los Angeles Kings: 2:00 PM

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PLAY OF THE WEEK

SCHMALTZ-TO-KELLER-TO-SCHMALTZ-TO-GARLAND: Game-tying goal Tuesday night in St. Louis.

Give-and-go. Cross and score.

Trailing, 2-1, with just over 14 minutes to play in regulation Tuesday night, the Coyotes capitalized to score a crucial power play goal to tie the game, which eventually extended to overtime and a shootout, resulting in a 3-2 Arizona win.

Entering St. Louis territory with speed, Nick Schmaltz handed off to Christian Dvorak , who chipped back to Schmaltz as the momentum-driven forward attacked in stride. As Conor Garland beat coverage to the Blues' net, Schmaltz placed a perfect pass across the crease to allow Garland to touch home the equalizer.

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PLAYER OF THE WEEK

DARCY KUEMPER: Two starts; 2-0-0, 0.97 GAA, .972 SV%, 1 Shutout

Following his two starts last week, Darcy Kuemper once again leads the NHL with a 1.85 GAA, while his .937 SV% ranks second behind only Thomas Greiss' .938 SV%.

Kuemper stopped 70 of the combined 72 shots he faced in the Coyotes' wins over the St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames. He remained perfect in the shootout on Tuesday against the Blues; he has stopped all five of the shootout attempts he's faced this season.

The 29-year-old pitched his second shutout of the season Saturday against Calgary, stopping all 37 shots he faced. He now has 18 career NHL shutouts, eight of which have come in a Coyotes uniform.

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IN THE SYSTEM

JAN A ROLL: Prospect Jan Jenik, selected #65 overall in the third round of the 2018 NHL draft, continues his marvelous OHL campaign with the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he's registered 43 points (17G, 26A) in 20 games, tied for second in league scoring.

The 19-year-old forward was named the OHL Player of the Week on Monday. He put up 10 points (5G, 5A) in three games played during the week. He has registered a point in every single game he's played since re-joining the Bulldogs after Coyotes main camp. His 20-game point streak is longest active streak in the OHL.

"Jan continues to build off a strong summer and equally impressive training camp," President of Hockey Operations and General Manager John Chayka. "It's no surprise that he is having success with his junior club. Perhaps the most exciting part about Jan's development is that we feel he is just scratching the surface. His willingness to work at his game and his competitive nature have driven him to continue to improve daily."

A SCHOLAR AND A SCORER: Forward John Farinacci, selected #76 overall in the third round of the 2019 NHL Draft, was named the ECAC Rookie of the Week on Monday.

The first-year forward leads the Harvard Crimson in goals with four, and has seven points (4G, 3A) in his first five collegiate games. He netted two goals in Harvard's 6-1 win over Yale on Saturday.

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PHOTO OF THE WEEK

A reason to celebrate. Michael Grabner circles off after beating Washington's Ilya Samsonov through the five hole on a breakaway Monday night at Capital One Arena, giving the Coyotes a 3-0 lead over the Capitals in the Coyotes' eventual 4-3 shootout win. (Photo: Patrick McDermott / Getty Images)

Lead Photo Credit: Tony Quinn - Getty Images // GIF Highlight Footage: Fox Sports Arizona

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