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'Yotes Notes: Ekman-Larsson Making Habit of Scoring OT Goals

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – The letter "O" in the nickname "OEL" stands for Oliver, of course, but this season it could also stand for "Overtime."

Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson on Tuesday tied the franchise record for overtime goals in a season when he scored his third of 2014-15 with just three-tenths of a second left to beat Edmonton 2-1.


Shane Doan and Paul MacLean also notched three overtime goals in one season playing for the Coyotes/Jets, but Ekman-Larsson has matched them in just 31 games.

Asked to explain his success in the extra five-minute period this season – he also scored an overtime game-winning goal last season – Ekman-Larsson said he enjoys competing with fewer players on the ice.

"I like playing 4-on-4," Ekman-Larsson said. "You get a lot of space and I feel like I’m playing with a lot of confidence when it’s 4-on-4… If you’re patient with the puck you’re going to get some time to make plays. That’s what I try to do."

Ekman-Larsson credits playing forward for a time in his youth for helping him develop his scoring touch. His father, he said, was the coach of one of his youth teams and thought playing center would benefit the young defenseman in the long run.

"He wanted me to see the ice a little bit different," Ekman-Larsson said. "You have to make quicker decisions when you’re a forward. It’s helped me out a lot."

Head Coach Dave Tippett said he likes how Ekman-Larsson has combined opportunity with execution.

"He plays big minutes and plays in those (big) situations, and his skill set allows him to take advantage of those opportunities and that’s what he’s done," Tippett said.

The NHL record for overtime goals in a season belongs to Tampa's Steven Stamkos with five in 2011-12.

Ekman-Larsson’s latest overtime goal was extra sweet because his maternal grandparents, who regularly watch his games in Sweden via the internet but rarely get to see him play in person, were among several relatives watching Tuesday’s game from seats inside Gila River Arena.


• Tippett said defenseman Michael Stone is day-to-day after suffering an upper-body injury on Tuesday vs. Edmonton. Stone, who ranks third in the NHL with 83 blocked shots, was checked into the boards from behind by Edmonton's Steven Pinizzotto in the first period. He quickly skated off the ice and did not return to the game.

• Tippett said forward Lauri Korpikosi, who missed Tuesday's game because of a lower-body injury, also is considered day-to-day.

• Forward Sam Gagner was back in the lineup on Tuesday after being a healthy scratch on Saturday vs. Minnesota. Gagner played 20:27, notched an assist, took three shots on goal and appeared rejuvenated after his one-game break.

"I felt like my game was good," Gagner said. "I was creating a lot. That is something I want to be consistent with."

• Connor Murphy was a healthy scratch for the second straight game on Tuesday. Tippett said the 21-year-old defenseman is handling the situation quite well.

"He recognizes that this could be a real positive thing for him," Tippett said. "He’s just a young player that is pushing hard to be a regular in the league and there’s some ups and downs with those young players. But he’s an excellent kid… For a young kid, the professionalism he shows is outstanding."

• The Coyotes took a season-high 44 shots on Tuesday vs. Edmonton, including 27 in the second period – a franchise record for shots in one period. Ekman-Larsson led the way with eight.

• Don Maloney is on the brink of becoming the winningest general manager in franchise history. With the victory over Edmonton on Tuesday, Maloney, who has been on the job since 2007, tied John Ferguson with 278 wins as GM. Meanwhile, Doan on Tuesday moved into a tie with Mats Sundin for 47th place on the NHL’s all-time list for games played with 1,346 and counting.

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