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‘Yotes Notes: Poor Start to Trip Creates More Urgency

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes dropped a 2-1 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Tuesday night in the second game of a five-game road trip that will likely define their season.

“We’re running out of games here,” rookie Jordan Martinook said. “The teams that we’re chasing are winning. Sometimes you can work hard but you’re not getting the results … We need to come out against Florida (on Thursday) and play as desperate as we can.”

Arizona has three games left on this trip, which began with a 3-2 loss at Washington on Monday. Overall, there are 22 games left in the season, and the Coyotes are six points out of a playoff spot.

“I think we’re right there,” Martinook said. “There’s a lot of effort in our game, we’re just not getting a bounce here or there ... We just need to stick with it and keep working hard.”

Head Coach Dave Tippett agreed.

“I’ve got no problem with the way we competed,” Tippett said. “We just need to execute a little better and find ways to generate a few more chances ... I liked the way we pushed in the third period. We came back and got it close. We just needed a break at the end.”

• Martinook, who scored Arizona’s lone goal, was helped off the ice after suffering a lower-body injury at 4:21 of the third period. He shocked many by returning to the game later in the period.

“I thought it was pretty bad,” Martinook said. “It hurt right away and then I let it relax for a little bit and it kind of went away. It was nice to get back out there and try to get the boys going again.”

Martinook’s goal, which he scored just 15 seconds before he suffered the injury, was originally credited to defenseman Michael Stone, who shot the puck that deflected off Martinook and past Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

• Captain Shane Doan blamed himself for Tampa Bay’s game-winning goal, which Cedric Paquette scored on a penalty shot at 19:55 of the second period.

Doan said he rushed his power-play shot on goal, which Paquette blocked, and then compounded the mistake by hooking Paquette from behind as Paquette skated in on goalie Louis Domingue on a short-handed breakaway.

“It was just a stupid mistake by someone who should know better,” Doan said.

• Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson became just the 24th player in franchise history to play in 400 games with the team.

Ekman-Larsson, who will turn 25 in July, logged a team-high 25:51 of ice time, took three shots, delivered three hits and blocked two shots in his latest milestone game.

The Coyotes drafted Ekman-Larsson sixth overall in 2009 and he has played his entire NHL career with the team.

• Defenseman Kevin Connauton, who has quickly evolved into one of the team’s top offensive threats, took a team-high five shots on goal on Tuesday – his 26th birthday.

• The Coyotes won 56 percent of the face-offs vs. the Lightning. Center Antoine Vermette led the way by winning 16 of 23 draws (70 percent).

• Arizona dropped to 4-7-1 in the second game of back-to-back games this season.

• A puck accidentally launched into the Coyotes bench struck Equipment Manager Tony Silva in the upper body early in the second period. He quickly left the bench for medical treatment, and was back to work at the start of the third period.

“They’re the guts of the organization,” Tippett said about the equipment staff. “Those guys, what they do to make sure players are ready to play, and when one of them gets hit like that that’s a concern for everybody. It’s a good thing he’s all right.”

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