GLENDALE – Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett is liking the vibe around the team during its three-game winning streak this week.
“I thought everybody chipped in tonight,” Tippett said after Arizona’s 4-1 victory over Edmonton on Thursday night at Gila River Arena. “There’s still lots of growing to do in this group… but the thing I like about them right now on the bench is the guys are pushing each other to do the right things.”
Goalie Mike Smith, who made 27 saves, likes the way the Coyotes have been able to rebound from early 1-0 deficits in all three wins during the streak.
“We want to clean up our starts,” Smith said. “They’ve kind of been a little bit of an Achilles’ heel for us but I think we’ve done a good job…. It’s not always how you start it’s how you finish.”
He added, “I think we’ve done a lot of learning over the past month and the last three games have shown the growth of this team.”
• Defenseman Stefan Elliott, playing his sixth game for the Coyotes, notched his first goal with Arizona at 17:29 of the second period. It was a backhanded goal he scored from in close off the rebound of a shot from forward John Scott, and it gave the Coyotes a 3-1 lead.
“It’s nice to get that first one, for sure,” Elliott said. “I would have never guessed that my first one would come from in front of the net, but it’s still nice to get it.”
Elliott is the team’s seventh defenseman but he is playing regularly this week in place of injured Nicklas Grossmann.
“Any time you get an opportunity to play and to help the team win it’s exciting,” Elliott said. “I’m just looking forward to taking steps forward every time I get on the ice.”
Scoring goals is nothing new for Elliott, whom the Coyotes acquired via trade from Colorado just before the season started.
Playing for Lake Erie last season, Elliott co-led American Hockey League defensemen in goals with 19 and ranked ninth with 40 points in 64 games. In 68 NHL games, he has scored six goals, including four in his rookie season with the Avalanche in 2011-12.
• Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored a goal in the first period to extend his point streak to four games – matching a career-high. The goal was Ekman-Larsson’s second of the season and his first since Opening Night at Los Angeles on Oct. 9.
• Captain Shane Doan played in his 1,410th game to tie Norm Ullman for 31st place on the NHL’s all-time games played list.
• In addition to notching an assist – his first point with the Coyotes – Scott delivered a team-high six hits and took two shots on goal in 7:06 of ice time.
• Center Martin Hanzal won 12 of 15 face-offs.
• The Coyotes improved to 21-2-3 vs. Edmonton under Tippett and to 7-0-0 when leading after two periods.
• Forward Steve Downie missed his second consecutive game because of an upper-body injury.