When the Phoenix Coyotes set a new franchise “record” with three straight shutout losses, captain Shane Doan tried to be diplomatic about it.
After ending that goalless slump but losing two more games, Doan took matters into his own hands.
“We haven’t lost five games in a row here in the last four years. It’s unacceptable,” Doan told Fox Sports Arizona’s Todd Walsh after holding a closed-door meeting. “It’s unacceptable to each individual guy.”
The Phoenix Coyotes have players that stand out from the crowd, but they arguably don’t have team-defining superstars in the same way that a squad like the Pittsburgh Penguins do. Which Doan would probably say is fine because their strength lies elsewhere.
“There isn’t one person on our team that isn’t so vitally important for us to be successful,” Doan said, echoing what he likely told his teammates in the meeting. “I don’t care what line you’re on. I don’t care what defensive pairings you are.
“In order for us to have any type of success, individually we have to be good and individually we have an element we can pick up in every single guy.
“Every single guy can be better at some point. The only way this works here is because as a whole we’ve been good. Individually we have to be better, and that’s all that matters. To a man, we’re accountable and it’s not working. We’re not good enough right now.”
Doan feels that his teammates are doing and saying the “right things” in the third period, but they haven’t been doing it enough early in contests. The Coyotes have surrendered the first goal 21 times in 31 games this season. The first peiod has also been by far the Coyotes’ worst in terms of scoring goals.
The Coyotes have three off-days before they play the Detroit Red Wings on Monday. They’re currently in a three-way tie for 10th place with 30 points in 31 games.
This has been a tough postseason for Phil Kessel haters.
The supposed “choker” is on a team that’s in the Eastern Conference Final, but Kessel obviously isn’t just in for the ride with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored his 18th point in 17 postseason games by scoring the 1-0 goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6.
(Watch that goal in the video above.)
It was a dramatic first period, with a Jonathan Drouin goal getting disallowed and Andrei Vasilevskiy making some huge saves on tough chances.
Can Pittsburgh protect this slim lead with 1-0 down one period? We’ll see, but either way, what a great postseason for Kessel.
To start the seemingly pivotal stretch, Andrei Vasilevskiy made an outstanding save on Evgeni Malkin on what sure looked like a scary chance.
The play swiftly shifted from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s end to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ side of the ice, and it seemed like Jonathan Drouin scored a big 1-0 goal in Game 6.
As it turns out, the goal was disallowed thanks to an offside goal review.
Here are a few viewpoints on that moment in GIF form … you can get a fuller view via the video above.
The general feeling among those who don’t have a horse in the race is that it was the right call. (Lightning fans were, uh, not happy.)
At some point, it will probably be kind of boring to hear members of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization praise Jonathan Drouin.
At least if Drouin re-signs with the Bolts after quite the affirming postseason and his ascension amid injuries.
These days? It’s still sort of entertaining.
In the latest case, Jon Cooper was asked to compare the development paths for Nikita Kucherov vs. Drouin. After empathizing with the pressure Drouin carries as a high-end pick (vs. Kucherov’s ability to come in under the radar), Cooper had some very positive things to say about No. 27.
” … So many people think, well, you’re just going to step in the league at 18 and be dominant,” Cooper said. “I truly believe Jonathan is going to be dominant in this league, but it’s hard to do at 18. He had to work through it, and that’s it.”
Drouin, now at 21, has 12 points in 15 playoff games.
In other Lightning news, it sounds like the team will roll with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, an alignment that has been working well lately and also came through at times during the 2015 postseason.
The Penguins, meanwhile, replace Beau Bennett with Conor Sheary.
Tonight could be the final game of the Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning. You can catch Game 6 via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay (8:00 p.m. ET)
The television broadcast of Game 6 is on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Bolts lead the series 3-2.
Here’s some relevant reading material to get you ready for tonight’s game:
—Malkin guaranteed a Penguins win in Game 6
—Lightning coach doesn’t seem flustered by Malkin’s guarantee
—Kucherov continues to be clutch for the Bolts this postseason
—Marc-Andre Fleury: ‘I should have been better’ in Game 5