Edmonton Oilers v Phoenix Coyotes

Coyotes know there’s room for improvement


The Phoenix Coyotes are 9-2-0 in their last 11 games. They’re scoring lots of goals and beating good teams like San Jose, Vancouver and St. Louis.

They’re also not satisfied.

Take Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime defeat of the Blues. A good win, obviously. But when you look at the shots — 39-19 for St. Louis — there’s clearly room for improvement.

“We didn’t get enough players playing at the speed of the game that needed to play,” coach Dave Tippett said, per azcentral.com. “That’s just executing plays under pressure. That’s winning a battle to create an opportunity.”

Despite all the W’s, the Coyotes have been outshot in eight of their last nine games. (Hey, if the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to get called out for winning that way, it’s only fair Phoenix does, too.)

There’s also the fact that four of the Coyotes’ last five victories have come in the shootout. (Take a bow, Radim Vrbata and Antoine Vermette.)

Phoenix is in Chicago tonight to play the defending Stanley Cup champs.

“If we want to be in the upper-class of teams in this league, we’re going to have to improve on some things,” goalie Mike Smith said.

But the wins are nice.

Already without Eberle, the Oilers could also be missing Hall tonight

Taylor Hall
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Taylor Hall is sick and reportedly “doubtful” for tonight’s game in Dallas.

Hall did not skate with the Oilers this morning. If he can’t play, Edmonton’s top two lines against the Stars could feature Ryan Nugent-Hopkins between wingers Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot, followed by Connor McDavid centering Lauri Korpikoski and Nail Yakupov.

The Oilers — forced to start the season without top-six winger Jordan Eberle — have scored just once in their first two games, losing 3-1 in St. Louis and 2-0 in Nashville.

Edmonton returns home after tonight’s contest to play St. Louis on Thursday. Then it’s back out on the road for games against Calgary and Vancouver.

Sabres waive d-man Donovan

HKN Sabres Senators
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Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.

Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.

The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.

The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.