Phoenix coach Dave Tippett was glad to see his team show up today in Los Angeles.
“That’s the best we’ve seen in the series, that’s for sure,” said Tippett following the Coyotes’ 2-0 victory over the Kings that extended the Western Conference finals for at least one more game.
“Our guys competed hard. Little things that make the game move ahead for you. We live for another day.”
Tippett’s squad didn’t look particularly competitive to start Game 4 at the Staples Center, and you have to wonder how the Coyotes would’ve responded if the Kings had managed to convert one of their two early man advantages. But the only reason you’re left wondering is because it didn’t happen.
“[Mike] Smith was excellent [in goal] and our penalty killing was excellent,” said Tippett.
And once captain Shane Doan opened the scoring on the power play at 14:19 of the first period, the Coyotes were able to turn their focus to keeping the Kings to the perimeter and limiting prime scoring chances.
“A lead is valuable for us,” said Tippett. “You get a lead, you feel you can push the game along. That’s exactly what happened tonight.”
Of course, the only other time the Coyotes managed to take the lead – in Game 3, when they opened the scoring in the second period – the Kings tied it up two minutes later.
This time, Phoenix was able to hold on and force a Game 5 Tuesday at Jobing.com Arena.
“We’re going home,” said Tippett. “We’re excited about going home, playing in front of our fans again.”
Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues
In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.
After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.
The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.
The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.
The Islanders also have a game in hand.
Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings
The talented 20-year-old forward and third overall pick in 2013 has since been suspended indefinitely without pay for failing to show up to an AHL game while down in the minors and hasn’t played since Jan. 18.
It’s been a while now, but Turris found himself in a similar situation when, in October of 2011, his agent Curt Overhardt confirmed that the now 26-year-old center wanted to be traded out of Arizona.
Back then, Turris, another third overall pick, was a restricted free agent and had been in contentious contract talks with the Coyotes. He eventually signed a two-year deal with the Coyotes and was acquired by Ottawa not long after.
He’s been there ever since, with two 20-plus goal seasons.
“It’s tough,” Turris told the Tampa Bay Times. “Everyone has mixed feelings, and especially not being an established player. Then people are doubting that you’re doing the right thing, you really have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to do it.
“It was very difficult to do. You’re getting a lot of heat from the media and people, and people within the organization. It was a tough, tough go.”
Speaking of heat from the media: In addition to the suspension, Drouin was ripped in a local newspaper column — “He’s the kid who quit” was one particular line that stands out — for his request and the drama that ensued from that.
For now, the trade deadline (Feb. 29) approaches and Drouin’s request has yet to be granted.