Sergei Plotnikov

AP

Tanguay made quite the impression in his Coyotes debut

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GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Dave Tippett’s decision to put newcomer Alex Tanguay on the same line as veteran center Antoine Vermette and speedy youngster Anthony Duclair paid off in a big way for the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night.

Tanguay, acquired from Colorado on Feb. 29, scored two goals and added an assist in his Coyotes debut. Vermette had a goal and three assists and Arizona ended a season-high seven-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.

Duclair added two assists as the three linemates combined for the last two goals for the Coyotes.

“I was extremely nervous. Couldn’t catch my breath out there,” Tanguay said. “I was looking forward to playing well and got a little lucky. Teammates played great, gave me the puck in great opportunities and happy we got the win.”

Shane Doan and Jordan Martinook also scored for Arizona, and Louis Domingue stopped 32 shots.

After a scoreless first period, it took the Coyotes 29 seconds to take the lead. Martinook got loose on a short-handed breakaway and beat Al Montoya to the stick side. The Coyotes scored again at 5:36 of the second period, with Tanguay taking a backhand pass from Vermette and putting the puck in the net for a 2-0 Arizona lead.

“He’s a good veteran player. He’s won before,” Tippett said of Tanguay, who is 36 and in his 17th NHL season. “He’s a very positive guy, wants to pay back some of the lessons that he’s learned over his career.”

Florida cut the lead to one on Aaron Ekblad‘s goal at 17:28 of the second period. It came with a player from each team in the penalty box for roughing.

Jussi Jokinen got the assist on Ekblad’s 13th goal of the season, giving Jokinen seven straight games with at least a point. Jokinen’s 22 road points lead the team this season.

Doan scored on a power play early in the third period after the Panthers’ Jaromir Jagr was whistled for interference. Vermette got the primary assist, and Vermette’s shot found Tanguay’s stick for a tip-in goal at 5:35 of the third to give the Coyotes an insurmountable three-goal lead.

“It’s 2-1 after the two periods, then we get to the third and we make a couple of bad plays,” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said.

The Coyotes added one more goal in the final minute on Vermette’s score on assists from Tanguay and Duclair.

“We had a good mix out there. We had a couple of good practices,” Vermette said. “You want to translate that into a game. (Tanguay’s) a smart guy. He’s been through a lot, a lot of experience. He won a Cup also. He’s a good passer, smart player.”

The Coyotes were strong on the penalty kill, thwarting the Panthers on five power plays. It marked the second straight game the Panthers failed to score with a man advantage after five straight games with a power-play goal.

“It’s a crucial part of the game and we are not doing it,” Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad said. “It’s not easy to score in this league and we’ve got to find ways to score, get in front of the net and jam away.”

Montoya finished with 21 saves for Florida, which has not won in regulation time in Arizona since Dec. 8, 1999.

The Panthers have lost four of their last five and dropped behind torrid Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division. The Lightning won their ninth straight game Saturday and have a two-point lead for first place in the Atlantic Division over Florida.

NOTES: Saturday’s game also marked the Coyotes debut of another forward, Sergei Plotnikov, who arrived in a trade with Pittsburgh earlier in the week. … Jagr played his 1,612th career game, tying the 44-year-old forward with Ray Bourque for ninth place in NHL history. … Montoya returned after missing the past two games with an upper-body injury. … Before the game, the Coyotes held a ceremony for Doan, who received a gold-plated game stick from Feb. 12, the night he became the franchise’s career points leader. … Arizona assigned F Craig Cunningham to Springfield of the AHL. Cunningham last played on Feb. 29, logging 11 minutes of ice time. … Arizona also called up G Marek Langhamer and sent G Niklas Treutle to Springfield. Treutle gave up five goals to Anaheim on March 3. Langhamer, 21, was up with the Coyotes for one game in November. … Coyotes C Max Domi was scratched due to a one-game suspension for starting a fight in the team’s previous game. C Boyd Gordon returned after missing the past 13 games due to injury.

PHT’s Trade Deadline Tracker

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Here’s the full list of deals made prior to the Monday, Feb. 29th 3 p.m. EST trade deadline..

Feb. 29

To Anaheim: Jamie McGinn
To Buffalo: conditional 3rd-round pick (link)

To Chicago: Tim Jackman, seventh-round pick
To Anaheim: Corey Tropp (link)

To Edmonton: Patrick Maroon
To Anaheim: Martin Gernat, fourth-round pick (link)

To Minnesota: David Jones
To Calgary: Niklas Backstrom, sixth-round pick (link)

To Nashville: Corey Potter
To Arizona: “Future considerations” (link)

To Pittsburgh: Dustin Jeffrey
To Arizona: Matia Marcantuoni (link)

To New York Islanders: Marc-Andre Cliche
To Colorado: Taylor Beck (link)

To Los Angeles: Brett Sutter
To Minnesota: Scott Sabourin (link)

To Montreal: Stefan Matteau
To New Jersey: Devante Smith-Pelly (link)

To Boston: Lee Stempniak
To New Jersey: ’17 2nd-round pick, ’16 4th-round pick (link)

To New York Islanders: Shane Prince, ’16 7th-round pick
To Ottawa: ’16 3rd-round pick (link)

To Boston: John-Michael Liles
To Carolina: Anthony Camara, 3rd-round pick, 5th-round pick (link)

To Anaheim: Brandon Pirri
To Florida: ’16 6th-round pick (link)

To Colorado: Eric Gelinas
To New Jersey: ’17 3rd-round pick (link)

To Dallas: Kris Russell
To Calgary: Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Pollock, conditional 2nd-round pick (link)

To Colorado: Mikkel Boedker
To Arizona: Alex Tanguay, Conner Bleackley, Kyle Wood (link)

To Carolina: Dennis Robertson
To Chicago: Drew McIntyre (link)

To Arizona: Sergei Plotnikov
To Pittsburgh: Matthias Plachta, ’17 7th-round pick (link)

Feb. 28

To Washington: Daniel Winnik, ’16 5th-round pick
To Toronto: Brooks Laich, Connor Carrick, ’16 2nd-round pick (link)

To New York Rangers: Chris Brown
To Washington: Ryan Bourque (link)

To New York Rangers: Eric Staal
To Carolina: ’16 2nd-round pick, ’17 2nd-round pick, Aleksi Saarela (link)

To L.A.: Kris Versteeg
To Carolina: Valentin Zykov, 5th-round pick (link)

Feb. 27

To Buffalo: Alex Guptill, Eric O’Dell, Cole Schneider, Michael Sdao
To Ottawa: Jason Akeson, Phil Varone, Jerome Leduc (link)

To Pittsburgh: Justin Schultz
To Edmonton: ’16 3rd-round pick (link)

To Florida: Jakub Kindl
To Detroit: ’17 6th-round pick (link)

To Florida: Teddy Purcell
To Edmonton: 3rd-round pick (link)

To Florida: Jiri Hudler
To Calgary: ’16 2nd-round pick, ’18 4th-round pick (link)

To St. Louis: Anders Nilsson
To Edmonton: Niklas Lundstrom, ’16 5th-round pick (link)

To San Jose: James Reimer, Jeremy Morin
To Toronto: Alex Stalock, Ben Smith, ’18 4th-round pick (link)

Feb. 26

To Chicago: Dale Weise, Tomas Fleischmann
To Montreal: Philip Danault, ’18 2nd-round pick (link)

Feb. 25

To Chicago: Andrew Ladd, Matt Fraser, Jay Harrison
To Winnipeg: Mark Dano, ’16 1st-round pick, ’18 3rd-round pick (link)

Feb. 24

To Vancouver: Philip Larsen
To Edmonton: ’17th 5th-round pick (link)

Feb. 23

To Washington: Mike Weber
To Buffalo: ’17 3rd-round pick (link)

Feb. 22

To San Jose: Roman Polak, Nick Spaling
To Toronto: Raffi Torres, ’17 2nd-round pick, ’18 2nd-round pick (link)

To Vancouver: Markus Granlund
To Calgary: Hunter Shinkaruk (link)

Feb. 21

To Colorado: Shawn Matthias
To Toronto: Colin Smith, ’16 4th-round pick (link)

From doghouse to desert: Pens trade Plotnikov to Coyotes

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The Sergei Plotnikov era in Pittsburgh is over.

And it was short lived.

On Monday morning, ESPN reported that Plotnikov, in his first year with Pittsburgh after a lengthy pro career in Russia, had been sent to the Coyotes.

UPDATE: Per the Post-Gazette, the Pens are getting a 7th-round pick in ’17 and Mattias Plachta, a 24-year-old German League power forward the Coyotes signed as a free agent this past summer.

Plotnikov, 25, signed a one-year, entry-level deal with the Pens this summer after spending the last three seasons with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. His time in Pittsburgh didn’t go especially well, though — he scored just two points (no goals) in 32 games, and has frequently been a healthy scratch as of late.

Last week, Pens GM Jim Rutherford admitted the team — most notably head coach Mike Sullivan — became irate after Plotnikov reportedly expressed an interest in returning to Russia.

“Sergei wants to play in the NHL as evidenced by the amount of money he paid to be excused from the last year of his KHL contact,” Plotnikov’s agent Mike Liut told the Post-Gazette.

“He understands that this will not happen in Pittsburgh and the Penguins have been attempting to trade Sergei, albeit, a difficult task when a player is a healthy scratch for two months. If a trade is not available, he will have no choice but to return to Russia.”

In a neat twist, Plotnikov could face his former team tonight, as the Coyotes are in Pittsburgh to take on the Pens at Consol.

Rutherford: Penguins coach Sullivan isn’t happy Plotnikov suggested possible return to Russia

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With the trade deadline approaching, it would appear Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sergei Plotnikov has gotten on head coach Mike Sullivan’s bad side.

The apparent reason: Well, according to reports quoting Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, it’s because the 25-year-old Plotnikov expressed an interest in possibly returning to Russia.

Plotnikov hasn’t played since Jan. 6 — a span of 19 games. In 32 games with Pittsburgh, he has two assists.

Plotnikov signed a one-year, entry-level deal with the Penguins last summer. According to General Fanager, it’s worth a cap hit of $925,000.

He payed a hefty price just to sign in the NHL, reportedly footing a $500,000 bill to get out of his KHL contract at the time.

“Sergei wants to play in the NHL as evidenced by the amount of money he paid to be excused from the last year of his KHL contact,” Plotnikov’s agent Mike Liut told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“He understands that this will not happen in Pittsburgh and the Penguins have been attempting to trade Sergei, albeit, a difficult task when a player is a healthy scratch for two months. If a trade is not available, he will have no choice but to return to Russia.”

Sullivan jumbles the lines, hoping to ‘stumble on’ a solution

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Keep an eye on the Penguins’ line combinations tonight in Boston, because new head coach Mike Sullivan has been doing some experimenting.

For instance, yesterday at practice, winger Phil Kessel found himself skating on the third line with Daniel Sprong and Eric Fehr. This morning, however, Kessel was back in the top six on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Plotnikov.

Patric Hornqvist, meanwhile, was dropped all the way to the bottom three:

If you’re wondering where Nick Bonino was, he’s not feeling well and may or may not play tonight. Just another variable in all this.

“I’m just trying to explore a little bit and see what we might stumble on,” Sullivan said, per The Beaver County Times. “We have a lot of options, a lot of pieces up front that we can interchange. We have to find a way to generate more offense, score more goals, maybe create more balance.”

Sullivan is obviously aware that his team needs to start scoring more. That’s why he’s in charge now.

Also obvious, Sidney Crosby has been the most glaring under-performer, with just six goals and 13 assists in 29 games. His 19 points are still good enough for second in team scoring, but his production is well below his regular pace of at least a point per game.

Oh, and lest anyone think Crosby is simply experiencing a run of bad shooting luck, his possession stats suggest it’s more than that. Without getting too much into the numbers, he has a negative relative Corsi. That’s just not something that we’re used to seeing.

One thing Sullivan could always try? Putting Crosby and Malkin together. That’s not ideal for various reasons, but then, neither is status quo. At this point, all options should be on the table.

At five-on-five this season, Crosby has spent the most time with veteran wingers Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis, the latter of whom has been forced to end his career due to blood clots.

Related: Penguins focused on cleaner breakouts