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'Yotes Notes: Arizona Capped Homestand with Another Win

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

GLENDALE -- The surging Coyotes banked another two points and continued their climb up the NHL standings on Saturday night thanks to a come-from-behind, 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators at Gila River Arena.

Antti Raanta made 23 saves, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Jordan Martinook scored goals to key the victory, which allowed Arizona to finish its season-long seven-game homestand with a 5-2-0 record.

"When you play at home, you've got to be hard to play against and I think we've established a work ethic here," Head Coach Rick Tocchet said. "We've got a long ways to go, but the one thing we've established is that this team will work."

Raanta was dominant on the homestand, winning five of his six starts to raise his overall season record to the NHL's equivalent of a .500 record: 15-15-6. On Saturday, he stopped every shot he faced in the game's final 56:36. 

"I saw lots of shots and when you see lots of shots from the point or when there's not that much traffic on you, it makes it a little bit easier," Raanta said. "I pretty much saw all the shots and I was able to track the puck pretty good. Of course in the last couple of minutes (with an extra attacker) they got a few shots from the point where you just kind of hope that someone is blocking that."

Despite the win vs. Ottawa and their 11-7-5 record in 2018, the Coyotes still sit 31st in the 31-team league. However, they are now just one point behind Buffalo, four behind Ottawa, seven behind Vancouver and eight behind Edmonton with 18 games to play. The next three will be road games at Edmonton, Vancouver and Colorado.

"We need to take this confidence we've been building at home," Raanta said. "We just need to recharge, refocus, go and play the game like we have been playing the last couple months already. Everything is under control and everybody is doing the right things."

Video: Raanta: No More Passengers

• Trailing 1-0, Ekman-Larsson scored his goal with a wrist shot through traffic with 1:14 left in the first period. The goal snapped a 16-game goal-scoring drought for Ekman-Larsson and was his first goal on home ice since Nov. 25.

"It's always fun to score goals," Ekman-Larsson said. "But at the same time I'm a defenseman first and trying to defend first. We've been working on that play a lot, breaking out in the (defensive) zone, and (Clayton Keller) made a great play on the offensive blueline there and I got it. I was going high, but it found its way in."

Video: OEL: Winning Breeds Confidence

Jordan Martinook notched the game-winning goal at 14:08 of the second period when he banged a nifty behind-the-net pass from Brad Richardson past Ottawa goalie Mike Condon from the top of the crease.

"I don't even know if that's from the ladies' tees," Martinook said with a smile. "That's probably from the juniors' tees. That's a pretty nice set-up (by Richardson). I don't want to pump his tires too hard, but that was pretty good."

Derek Stepan assisted on Ekman-Larsson's goal to become just the fifth player from the 2008 NHL Draft class to produce 400 career points. Stepan, the 51st overall pick in 2008, has 139 goals and 261 assists. The other 2008 draftees to notch 400 points are all first-round picks: Steven Stamkos (659), Erik Karlsson (503), Jordan Eberle (428) and Drew Doughty (406). 

• Nick Cousins led the Coyotes with six shots on goal and seven hits in 14:02 of ice time. He also chipped in one assist.

• The Coyotes swept a two-game season series from Ottawa for the first time since moving from Winnipeg to Arizona in 1996. Arizona beat the Senators, 3-2 in overtime, at the Canadian Tire Centre on Nov. 18.

"It was a good win," Tocchet said. "I liked our third period and we did a nice job shutting them down. Ottawa, they played well, too, but I thought we limited a lot of chances in the third."

Video: Tocchet on Successful Homestand

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