Coyotes defenseman Dmitri Kalinin has been a big beneficiary of a change of scenery since joining the team at the trade deadline from the New York Rangers.
Kalinin has averaged almost four more minutes of ice time with the Coyotes, and is playing in all different situations, unlike when he was with the Rangers.
“It's great to play with guys like (Ed Jovanovski),” said Kalinin, who has an assist in six games with the Coyotes. “I now get the chance to play on the power play and penalty kill, which I didn’t get that many chances on the Rangers. From my standpoint, I just have to use the ice time that best way that I can and be responsible.”
Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky is giving Kalinin a full look in the last bit of the season as the native of Chelyabinsk, Russia, is an unrestricted free agent in the off-season.
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“Kalinin has done a nice job at the blue line,” Gretzky said. “He has been good on the power play and good five-on-five. He makes a good first pass out of the zone. We are pretty happy with what he has done.”
Playing over 20 minutes per game, Kalinin continues to earn the trust of his teammates.
“It’s good to be able to show my teammates and the coaching staff how I can play and make sure that everyone trusts me,” Kalinin said. “You have to earn trust to play in the key situations in the games and I have to take advantage of every chance I get.”TOUGH TASK
When the Coyotes take on the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night at Jobing.com Arena, the team will take on a Pacific Division rival they have had some success against this season.
In three games against the Sharks, the Coyotes are 1-2-0 and have allowed just seven goals against the NHL's sixth-highest scoring team.
“I don’t know if we get more mentally ready or if we take it as a challenge to beat these bigger teams,” defenseman Keith Yandle
said. “I think we take pride in going against the top-notch teams and we will give it our all tomorrow.”
Gretzky knows they will have their hands full going against the Sharks, who have already captured a playoff berth.
“We have our work cut out tomorrow,” Gretzky said. “…They are one of the elite teams in the National Hockey League so we’re definitely going to have to play a lot better than we have recently.”QUICK HITS
• Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov will make his second straight start on Tuesday night against the Sharks. Bryzgalov earned the second star of the game on Saturday by making 31 saves against the Nashville Predators.
• Forward Brian McGrattan was put on re-entry waivers on Monday. He will join the Coyotes on Tuesday if he clears waivers.