Hanzal, Dubnyk’s big nights help Coyotes crush Canucks


The Vancouver Canucks have been one of the NHL’s best comeback stories so far this season, but that wasn’t reflected in their play tonight. Martin Hanzal had a hat trick and Devan Dubnyk posted a 35-save shutout to lead the Arizona Coyotes to a 5-0 victory.

Hanzal found the back of the net in the first period to give the Coyotes the early lead despite the fact that they were outshot 12-3 through 20 minutes. Hanzal then broke this game open with back-to-back goals roughly nine seconds apart in the second period.

The hat trick goal had to sting for Miller, especially seeing as he felt the previous goal was scored on a high stick:

“I’m disappointed in that call,” Miller said, according to the Vancouver Province’s Jason Botchford. “The ref didn’t see it. I looked over and he wasn’t even looking.”

Regardless, it was Hanzal’s second career hat trick. His first was on Dec. 4, 2008, per the Coyotes’ Dave Vest.

Shane Doan scored in the final seconds of the second frame to add insult to injury.

The Coyotes suffered a scare when defenseman Keith Yandle left the game late in the first period after falling and crashing foot first into the end boards. He returned though and finished the contest with a goal and two assists.

This was also a big game for Dubnyk, who earned his first shutout since Dec. 27, 2013. He now has a 2.54 GAA and .913 save percentage in five games this season and given Mike Smith’s shaky play so far, it’ll be interesting to see if Dubnyk starts to play more.

Vancouver will get some time off to regroup before playing Edmonton on Wednesday.

Coyotes stretch win streak to three games with shootout victory

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Sam Gagner and Mikkel Boedker scored in the shootout helping the Arizona Coyotes to a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks Friday night.

Ryan Getzlaf and Matt Beleskey scored first period goals giving the Ducks a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.

However, Rob Klinkhammer and Shane Doan scored second period goals tying it 2-2.

Mike Smith stopped 37 shots as Arizona stretched its’ win streak to three.

Frederik Andersen made 23 saves in the loss.

The bigger loss for the Ducks could be on the blue line as defenseman Cam Fowler left the game in the third period favoring his left leg. The team is calling it a lower body injury adding that Fowler is listed as day-to-day.

Friday marked the regular season debut of Anaheim blue liner Bryan Allen.

The Ducks have now lost two straight.

Trotz: ‘Some of the behavior has to change’


The Washington Capitals have just one win in six games following a 6-5 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday night.

Washington had a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes, but slowly saw the visiting Coyotes chip away at it scoring five unanswered goals to take a 6-3 lead late in the third period.

Coach Barry Trotz has seen enough.

“The behavior has to change,” said Trotz. “We’ve done this multiple times. We took a lot of penalties, we turned a lot of pucks over. It’s the same old story and it’s too old for me.”

The Coyotes converted on 2 of 6 power play opportunities and out-shot the Capitals 24-21 through 40 minutes.

Following the game, the Capitals held a 20-minute, players’ only meeting at the Verizon Center before the doors were opened to the media.

“That behavior has to change or we have to change people. Plain and simple,” continued Trotz. “To me it’s absolutely unacceptable. They have to fix it. It’s my job to fix the behavior. If they’re not going to fix it internally, then I’ll make sure I fix it.”

Alex Ovechkin led the way offensively for the Capitals with a goal and three assists. He is now tied with Peter Bondra for first place on the Capitals’ franchise points list (825).

“I think we had a great [first] period,” Ovechkin said. “After that we just stopped playing like we’re supposed to play. It’s all our fault. It’s not about the system. We made bad decisions with the puck, we made bad penalties and it cost us.”

Ovechkin also picked up two minor penalties in the loss.

“We have to work harder,” said Troy Brouwer, who had a goal in the loss. “We’ve got to work smarter. It’s not one or two guys; it’s collectively every guy in here that needs to be better. It’s not something that is going to change tonight or change tomorrow. We’ve got to work at it and be on guys to make sure they are giving their best every night and that’s the only way we’ll get better.”

Arizona entered Sunday’s game with just one win their previous six games, an overtime win over Florida.

Antoine Vermette opened the scoring with his second of the season in the first period. After Tom Wilson, John Carlson and Ovechkin had given Washington a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes, the Capitals proceeded to take five second period penalties.

Michael Stone and Shane Doan had second period goals to tie the game 3-3 after two periods.

Sam Gagner picked up his first as a member of the Coyotes, Doan scored his second of the night and rookie Tobias Rieder scored third period goals to give Arizona a commanding 6-3 lead with less than five minutes remaining in the third.

Joel Ward and Brouwer scored in the final two minutes, but the Caps could not get the equalizer.

“The commitment level has to be a little better than it is now in a lot of different areas,” said defenseman Brooks Orpik. “We have guys making mistakes that experienced guys shouldn’t make.

“Right now one guy makes a mistake and everybody else kind of watches it happen.”

Devan Dubnyk made 32 saves to improve to 2-0-1 on the season while Justin Peters made 24 saves in the loss.

Risk Factors: Arizona Coyotes edition

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From the same bunch of pessimists who brought you “Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup,” PHT presents a new series called “Risk Factors,” i.e. three reasons to be worried about each NHL team in 2014-15.

Arizona Coyotes

1. They’re betting heavily on the idea that Mike Smith can carry this team to the playoffs, but his overall track record isn’t great.

The Coyotes have Smith to thank for their run to the Western Conference Final in 2012, but in the two campaigns that have followed, Smith has been inconsistent at best. Certainly, he’s been nothing like the man that posted a 2.21 GAA and .930 save percentage in 67 games in 2011-12.

To be fair, the last two campaigns have been unusual given the lockout and the Olympics; both of which might have had an adverse impact on the 32-year-old goaltender.

“Goaltending through the middle of the season for me wasn’t where it needed to be,” Smith told the Arizona Republic in April. “I was kind of doing some soul-searching, and we lost some games because of that.”

He added, “Mentally, it was kind of tough leading up to the Olympics and not knowing if I was going to be on the team or not.”

At the same time, if you look at his 325-game career track record, his previous two seasons are closer to his norm than his 2011-12 campaign. That’s not to suggest that he’s a bad goaltender or even an average one, but the Coyotes need him to play at an elite level if they are to make the playoffs and that might be hoping for too much.

2. They might finish the season without a single player reaching the 20-goal mark.

This ties into their dependence on Smith. Arizona only had three players that reached the 20-goal mark last season and one was Radim Vrbata, who now plays for Vancouver. Mike Ribeiro finished fifth in goals with just 16 and he’s also gone.

They still have Shane Doan. He scored 23 goals in 69 contests last season and has traditionally been good for 20-plus goals per season, but he’ll turn 38 on Friday, so obviously his age is increasingly becoming a concern.

They aren’t completely devoid of offensive talent. Mikkel Boedker, 24, might take another step up this season for example and Sam Gagner might bounce back after recording just 37 points in 2013-14. Even still, it’s hard to get excited about the Coyotes’ offense, especially after they decided not to start the season with promising young forwards Max Domi, Henrik Samuelsson, and Lucas Lessio.

3. Can they grow their fanbase when their chances of making the playoffs are slim?

Coyotes GM Don Maloney’s reason for cutting Domi, Samuelsson, and Lessio from their training camp roster is that they “need to be a playoff team.”

In fact, he went on to specifically state that reaching the postseason was the way to excite their fanbase and get people into Gila River Arena. The problem is that their chances of making the playoffs aren’t great regardless of the decision regarding their prospects.

This is a franchise that’s in a somewhat tenuous situation. They finally have an ownership group in place, but the new management’s debut season had mixed results. The Coyotes ranked 30th in the NHL with an average attendance of 13,775 in 2013-14, per ESPN.com. That’s still a step up from the 12,420 fans per game they had in 2011-12, but it’s a downgrade from their shortened-season attendance of 13,923.

Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc admitted in December that he was disappointed in the attendance. On the ice, the Coyotes competed for a playoff spot, but they ultimately fell just short. Their task will only be harder this season with the two 2013-14 Western Conference Wild Card winners — Dallas and Minnesota — upgrading over the summer and with teams that finished below the Coyotes in the Pacific Division — Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton — moving in the right direction.

As Maloney suggested, providing a city with a playoff-caliber team is the best way to grow a fanbase, but that might not be what the Coyotes have done. At least not yet.

Boedker, Coyotes to shelve contract talks if no deal by opening night

Next week will be a crucial one for Mikkel Boedker and the Arizona Coyotes.

Boedker, a pending RFA, has been in negotiations with the Coyotes on a new deal — but, according to Boedker’s agent, those talks won’t continue  if a deal isn’t done by Arizona’s season opener on Oct. 9.

From the Arizona Republic:

Boedker will be up for a contract renewal at the end of this season, and another strong offensive showing could net him the long-term security he coveted when he negotiated his last contract, which ended up being a two-year, $5.1 million deal.

The Coyotes and Boedker’s camp have been in talks but if a deal isn’t hammered out before opening night, negotiations will be put on hold until the end of the season, Boedker’s agent, Jarrett Bousquet, said.

Boedker, 24, inked a two-year, $5.1 million deal just prior to the start of last year’s training camp and responded with a career campaign, scoring 19 goals and 51 points in 82 games. The former eighth overall pick gelled on the club’s top line alongside Shane Doan and Antoine Vermette, and has been praised for his “excellent” skill set by head coach Dave Tippett.

Per the Republic, Boedker was gunning for a long-term pact last fall and will likely want the same this time around. It’ll be interesting to see how negotiations play out — Bousquet has a fairly good rapport with Arizona brass and netted another client, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, a six-year, $33 million extension with the Coyotes last season.