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‘Yotes Notes: Close Losses Keep Coming at Critical Time

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

Close isn’t going to get it done as the Coyotes continue to lose one-goal games on this five-game road trip vs. Eastern Conference teams.

That was the message from Head Coach Dave Tippett and captain Shane Doan after a 3-2 defeat to the Florida Panthers on Thursday night at the BB&T Center.

“It’s frustrating to lose,” Tippett said. “We can’t find a way to get on top of it. We had a couple chances there late to see if we could get it tied and couldn’t get it done. The frustration continues to build. (Coming) close doesn’t make it any better right now.”

The loss was the third in a row on this trip following one-goal defeats at Washington on Monday and at Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Next up is a matinee game at Philadelphia on Saturday followed by the trip finale at Pittsburgh on Monday.

“It’s not good enough,” Doan said, after being asked what his message to his teammates is moving forward. “No one can be resting on the fact that we're close. That's not our jobs... We've got to find a way to start winning games... I don’t care how close you are. If you don’t win, you don’t win. We have to be desperate, and we have to find a way to come with energy and some enthusiasm to be out there.”

The Coyotes, who have lost four games in a row overall, are slipping in the Western Conference standings with 21 games to go.

“These are valuable points,” Tippett said. “The teams around us keep winning and we can’t find a way to get points. So we’ve got to reset tomorrow and go into Philly and hopefully we can find some.”

He added, “We’re not executing well enough, and that’s with and without the puck, … to allow us to generate more offense.”

• Doan scored his team-leading 23rd goal of the season at 7:02 of the first period. It was his 391st NHL goal and his 12th goal scored within the first 20 minutes this season.

Doan also moved into a tie with Tim Horton for 24th place on the NHL’s list for games played with 1,446.

• Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson pulled the Coyotes to within 3-2 with a power-play goal at 14:17 of the third period. The goal, Ekman-Larsson’s 18th of the season and 73rd of his career, moved Ekman-Larsson into a tie for fifth place on the franchise's all-time goals scored by a defenseman list.

• Goalie Louis Domingue was shaken up with 3:00 left in the game when Panthers defenseman Dmitry Kulikov tripped over him and then landed on top of him while he was down in the crease. Domingue appeared to injure his chest, which slammed into the ice. He remained on the ice for a few minutes but eventually got up and stayed in the game until being pulled for an extra attacker with 1:40 to play.

“I think he’s fine,” Tippett said after the game.

• Center Martin Hanzal co-led the team with four shots on goal and delivered a game-high six hits. He also won 11 of 19 face-offs.

• The Coyotes next play on Saturday at Philadelphia. The game will begin at 11 a.m. Arizona time, and it is a “radio only” game on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

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