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.”
Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.
Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.
The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.
A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.
With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.
Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.
Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.
When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.
“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”
It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.
While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.