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'Yotes Notes: Tippett Likes Progress

Head Coach Dave Tippett thinks team has rallied since long road trip

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

Mike Smith Q&A

Mike Smith discusses Coyotes' 2-1 win over the Oilers

Coyotes goalie Mike Smith discusses the team's 2-1 win over Edmonton at Rogers Place

  • 02:10 •

Head Coach Dave Tippett on Sunday praised his team for a solid road win and for rallying from a miserable start to the season that featured a 1-5-0 road trip vs. Eastern Conference teams. The Coyotes are 8-10-2 after 20 games. 

"Our objective coming off that road trip was we have to continue to get better," Tippett said after Arizona's 2-1 victory over Edmonton at Rogers Place. "We have a lot of young players, we have a lot of new players. We knew it was going to take some time to get our group together and we're moving in the right direction. Are we there yet? No. We've got a lot of work to do."

The Coyotes posted back-to-back, one-goal victories over Edmonton this weekend and have earned eight points in the past six games (3-1-2).

"That's the kind of game we had to play," Tippett said after Sunday's win. "... We played a real determined checking game all the way through. We checked hard. Our 'D' had really good gaps, weren't giving the outnumbered breaks we did the other night and we found enough to win."

Video: Dave Tippett discusses Coyotes' 2-1 win over Oilers

• Goalie Mike Smith made 41 saves and upped his career record vs. Edmonton to 15-1-1. He made 32 saves on Friday when Arizona beat Edmonton, 3-2 in a shootout, in the first game of a home-and home series.

"They're a team that you can't let your guard down against," Smith said. "If you do, you're going to get burned pretty bad ... They had a lot of shots but I thought we shut them down on the rush, which was kind of a game plan to have against a team that quick. Obviously the (Connor) McDavid line is a good line for them and we wanted to try and keep them off the scoreboard as much as we could. I thought we did a pretty good job of doing that."

Smith has won three of his past four starts overall and he stopped 116 of 121 shots in those wins.

• Tippett raved about defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson's performance on Sunday.

Ekman-Larsson did not take a shot on goal. He made his impact in the defensive and neutral zones. In 24:35 of ice time, Ekman-Larsson was plus-1, blocked four shots and had three takeaways playing regularly against McDavid's line.

"That's the best game he's played this year," Tippett said. "He showed why he's an All-Star defenseman. He was outstanding."

• Per Elias Sports: Arizona's 25-game point streak vs. Edmonton is the longest vs. the same opponent since Philadelphia's 32-game point streak vs. the Los Angeles Kings from Oct. 22, 1974 to Feb. 5, 1983.

Jamie McGinn scored the game-winning goal at 16:16 of the third period. Anthony Duclair set up the goal with a nifty pass from the left corner.

"It was a good job by 'Dvo' (Christian Dvorak) getting in there on the forecheck and 'Duke' finding the puck," said McGinn, who hadn't scored since Nov. 4. "I was just trying to get open for them and make sure I put it in the back of the net."

Video: ARI@EDM: McGinn pops it in from the slot to take lead

• Tied 0-0, Radim Vrbata scored a goal at 16:10 of the first period. Vrbata sent a centering pass out of the right corner and the puck bounced off Oilers defenseman Kris Russell and past goalie Cam Talbot for Vrbata's team-leading seventh goal of the season. He has scored five of his seven goals in first periods.

• Defenseman Connor Murphy played a game-high 25:21 in his 200th NHL game.

• Rookie Laurent Dauphin was a game-time decision because of a minor injury suffered in Friday's game. Dauphin played 10:42, took three shots on goal, and won six of eight face-offs. 

• The Coyotes are 6-0-0 against Edmonton, Philadelphia and San Jose (two wins each). They play at San Jose on Tuesday night.

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