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The Desert Dog Blog: Coyotes Confident Despite Game 1 Loss

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – The sky isn’t falling. That was the message the Coyotes delivered to their fans – via the media – after Monday’s practice inside Arena.

Yes, Phoenix lost Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, 4-2, to the red-hot Los Angeles Kings on home ice on Sunday night.

Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett.

But Head Coach Dave Tippett and his players insist the best-of-seven series, which continues on Tuesday with Game 2, is far from over.

“We've got to respond,” Tippett said, “just like we did after Game 1 (vs.) Nashville where we didn't think we played as well as we could have. That's the message today. We didn't play as well as we would have liked, so we have to play better tomorrow. If we play better, hopefully that's the response we need.”

Captain Shane Doan agreed.

“We're obviously disappointed in the results and the way we played,” Doan said “…(There’s) nothing you can do about it now. That's kind of our attitude… Every guy can be a lot better than we were last night. And give them credit, they played really well. I mean, they dominated.”

• Defenseman Adrian Aucoin, who suffered an undisclosed injury in Game 5 vs. Nashville, skated with teammates on Monday and could play in Game 2.

Photo by Norm Hall.

• Goalie Mike Smith on Monday revealed that the reason his hair is so long is because he and former teammate Ryan Malone are having a hair-growing contest.

Smith, Malone and five other members of the 2010-11 Tampa Bay Lightning shaved their heads a year ago at the Pepin Hospitality Center as part of the Cut For A Cure program to raise money for pediatric cancer. 

“So far we're tied,” Smith cracked about who is winning the contest with Malone.

• And finally, defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is eager for Game 2 so he can redeem himself for his minus-3 performance in Game 1.

"I didn't skate good or with the puck very well," Ekman-Larsson told "I made some bad passes. I have to be more physical and play more with the puck. I have to make better plays and skate harder."

Tippett applauded Ekman-Larsson for recognizing he needs to play better in this series.

"That's probably a great indication of where he's at," Tippett said. "He evaluates his own game very honestly and he knew he could be better (Sunday) night. Him and his partner (Rostislav) Klesla were not near as good as we needed them to be and they were at the front of quite a few chances against. Those guys recognize that today, and I expect them both to be better (in Game 2)."

EDITOR’S NOTE: Contact Dave Vest at and follow him on Twitter @davest4yotes.

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