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February 10, 2019
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GLENDALE Scott Laughton Jersey , Ariz. — When the calendar turned from October to November a year ago, the Arizona Coyotes didn’t have to look at a statistics sheet or analyze their upcoming schedule to know they were already out of playoff contention.Their 1-10-1 record told them that.The numbers — and their record — tell an entirely different story this season. While their 6-5-0 record remains modest, the Arizona Coyotes are beginning to take on the look of a team that could reach the Western Conference playoffs for the first time since 2012.Article continues below …That’s one reason why the Carolina Hurricanes, just like the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Ottawa Senators before them, hope they’re not catching them at the wrong time.The Coyotes will try to win their fifth in a row when they play the Hurricanes at Gila River Arena on Friday night. It might seem like only a moderately long streak, but the Coyotes haven’t won that many in a row in five years, or since Oct. 26-Nov. 5, 2013. They haven’t win five straight in regulation since the final five games of that 2011-12 playoff season.“Hopefully it can keep going — we’ve got a good feeling in the room and want to build from that,” team captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson said. “It’s not fun to be out of the playoffs like we were last year in October. It means a lot to us to get a good start and feel like we have a chance to beat every team in the league. We’re playing good and building our game.”That game of theirs looks nothing like it did a season ago, when their goaltending was in disarray, they weren’t getting scoring out of anyone except forward Clayton Keller and their defensive system was a mess.Now Womens Sean Couturier Jersey , they’re beginning to create a stir around the league not just because they’re winning, but how they’re winning. Their 27 goals over their last six games (5-1-0) are the most in the league, and they have a 20-4 edge during their four-game winning streak. Their 1.91 goals-against average is the NHL’s best, and they lead the league with six short-handed goals — five in their last three games.In their last two games, they opened up 3-0 first-period leads against both the Lightning (7-1 win) and the Senators (5-1 win). It’s a major turnaround from the start of the season, when the Coyotes were shut out three times while losing four of five. Keller leads them with five goals and three assists.“I didn’t feel panic in the guys (then),” coach Rick Tocchet said. “The one thing we were hanging our hats on was we weren’t giving teams much and the goalies (Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper) were playing great for us. I thought the defensemen were playing good, we just weren’t scoring. But guys were sticking with it, playing hard and (we thought) the goals will come.”The Hurricanes (6-5-1) wish they’d start coming for them. They’ve been held to two goals or fewer five times while losing five of seven, including home-ice losses of 3-2 to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday and 2-1 to the New York Islanders on Sunday.The Hurricanes are beginning a four-game road trip that opens up with back-to-back games against the Coyotes on Thursday and the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday.“We need to come up with some wins on this road trip, we know that Shayne Gostisbehere Jersey ,” coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We’re playing pretty good hockey, and if we get a few bounces here or there we have a different outlook. … We want to be in better shape (after the road trip) that we are now.”Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho has a team-high 17 points on four goals and 13 assists, and he joined Wayne Gretzky and Ken Linseman as the only players in NHL history to get at least one assist in each of the first 12 games of a season. No player has a 13-game assist streak to start a season.“He (Aho) is our special player, there’s no secret now, but he needs to be that every night,” Brind’Amour said. Players take note: Referees aren’t swallowing their whistles so far in the 2018 NHL playoffs.Penalties are up more than 17 percent over the same time a year ago and are playing a substantial role in several series. Through 19 games in the first round, there have been nearly 10 penalties per game. Last year, there was an average of eight penalties called through 20 games.”The penalties that have been called in the series so far is an indication of how the referees are calling the game,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said Monday. ”They’re calling it as they see it. I think discipline is of the utmost importance.”While the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions haven’t been perfect in that regard against Philadelphia, they haven’t been derailed by a lack of discipline. Around the rest of the NHL, penalties and the ensuing power-play goals are making a big difference: There have been 38 power-play goals through Sunday’s games compared with just 21 in 2017.The NHL wants officials to call playoffs at the same standard as the regular season Andrej Sustr Jersey Womens , which is happening with penalties actually going up from the first period through the third. Each of the 10 pairings of referees working the playoffs has at least one who has worked the Cup Final, so the hope is having that experience helps maintain consistency.The Washington Capitals blew two-goal leads in back-to-back overtime losses on home ice to Columbus because of ill-advised penalties and go into Game 3 on the road (7:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, NBCSN) knowing it’s a problem that needs immediate fixing.”We need to be a little smarter,” center Nicklas Backstrom said. ”We need to play with better discipline – especially when we have the lead twice. … It’s obviously going to hurt you in the playoffs. That’s the way it is. It’s just fact.”Nine of the 14 regulation goals in the Washington-Columbus series have come on the power play. The Blue Jackets, who surged into the playoffs by not taking a lot of penalties to tax one of the worst special teams units in the league, lead the playoffs in penalty minutes per game.Coach John Tortorella said the Blue Jackets ”have to cure that” because it’s too dangerous to keep taking so many penalties. His players know it even if they’re unsure of the standard.”We need to stay out of the box, but you never know what’s a call and what’s not anymore,” forward Cam Atkinson said. ”But that’s the game right now.”In the West, where Winnipeg leads Minnesota 2-1, the teams realize how tight things are being called.The Wild took five penalties in the first 31 minutes Sunday night and stymied the Jets’ power play in a 6-2 comeback win. The teams combined for 19 penalties – including some fights and misconducts – in the second game of their series.”We’ve just got to watch taking penalties,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. ”Both teams were really emotional at the beginning and you’ve got to worry about taking penalties and getting behind the eight ball.”It’s chippy between the Golden Knights and Kings http://www.flyersshoponline.co…..ick-jersey , too, with Vegas up 3-0 going into Game 4 (10:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, NBCSN) in Los Angeles. All three games so far have been decided by a goal, L.A. defenseman Drew Doughty was suspended for an illegal check to the head of William Carrier and Kings coach John Stevens is none too happy about a missed call on Vegas forward Erik Haula for hitting Anze Kopitar in the face with the butt end of his stick Sunday night .”We get a guy suspended for making a hockey play, and he butt-ends one of the best players in the world in the face,” Stevens said. ”That’s an intent-to-injure play.”COMEBACK KINGS?Los Angeles is the most recent team to come back from a 3-0 series deficit, doing so in 2014 against the San Jose Sharks on the way to winning the Stanley Cup. Stevens, who was an assistant four years ago, said his team has ”had some resilience all year,” and the tightness of the games against Vegas combined with the excellence of goaltender Jonathan Quick certainly makes an turnaround possible.INJURIESThe Jets lost Tyler Myers to a lower-body injury that coach Paul Maurice thought was avoidable, and the big defenseman’s status is uncertain going into Game 4 (8 p.m. EDT Tuesday http://www.flyersshoponline.co…..cny-jersey , CNBC). Young Tucker Poolman could draw into the lineup in place of Myers if necessary.The Capitals won’t have forward Andre Burakovsky for at least Games 3 and 4 in Columbus because of an upper-body injury. Coach Barry Trotz said Burakovsky is going to ”miss some time” after being crunched into the boards by Boone Jenner in Game 2. Speedy winger Jakub Vrana, a surprise scratch for Washington on Sunday, goes back in for Burakovsky.WHO STARTS?Trotz said he has decided who will start in goal for the Capitals in Game 3 but hadn’t yet told Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer. After Grubauer allowed eight goals on 49 shots before being yanked at the second intermission of Game 2, the smart money is on Holtby, the 2016 Vezina Trophy winner.BARTON OUTLinesman Steve Barton, who was injured when he inadvertently clipped skates with Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson and had to be helped off the ice by trainers, dislocated his kneecap and tore a quadriceps muscle in his left leg. Barton will require surgery but didn’t tear ligaments in his knee, which doctors said is good news because they expect him to make a full recovery.—
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