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Tippett feels streaking Coyotes can get better

by Jerry Brown
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dave Tippett would like to see his team clean up the turnovers. He'd like to see them stop digging early holes with poor first periods. And if someone would like to score more than six goals over the next 20 games, he certainly won't complain.

Despite their imperfections, the Coyotes have still won six games in a row, are unbeaten in their last eight and have gone from the basement of the jam-packed Western Conference to three points out of the penthouse heading into Tuesday's game with Edmonton at Arena.

Imagine what would happen if they ever pleased their taskmaster coach. The Coyotes just completed their first road sweep of Western Canada -- beating, in order, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver -- to stretch their winning streak to within shouting distance of last year's franchise-record 10 straight. That streak started Nov. 21, 2009, and didn't end until after Christmas.

The most precarious game of this current streak came in Edmonton, when the Coyotes spotted the young, struggling Oilers a 3-0 lead in the second period before storming back and tying the game on Wojtek Wolski's goal with 34.4 seconds left in regulation. Red-hot Ray Whitney assisted on all three goals to get the Coyotes to overtime. Phoenix eventually won in a shootout when Eric Belanger scored in the fifth round.

"We just didn't move our feet and we didn't compete early in that game and we'll have to be a lot better to beat (Edmonton) this time," said Tippett, who saw his team not only waste a five-minute power play but allow a shorthanded goal in the first period to fall behind. "Edmonton is a talented young team that can bury you if you give them the opportunity. We saw them go into Anaheim (Sunday) and beat the Ducks when they were playing very well."

The Oilers got a rare road win Sunday, but had to survive after blowing an early 2-0 lead to get the 4-2 win, just their fifth victory in 19 games this season. Tippett also mentioned that the Oilers players have brought their fathers on the road trip to Phoenix and will be watching from the stands.

"We get a lot of those trips in the winter and there is always an extra incentive that means we have to be even better," he said. "We certainly have to be a lot better than we were the last time, that's usually not a blueprint for success."

The Coyotes put center Kyle Turris on the injured list with an upper-body injury. Turris went face-first into the boards from behind after a hit from behind by Oiler Andrew Cogliano in the first period of the game in Edmonton. He returned, but took a high stick to the head in the second period and left for good. Phoenix recalled rookie defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson from AHL San Antonio to fill Turris' roster spot.
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