The Phoenix Coyotes don’t live in a cave. They saw what happened to the Vancouver Canucks and the St. Louis Blues after those two teams dropped the first two games of their respective playoff series against the Kings. It didn’t go well. The Coyotes don’t want to join them. Given the number of veteran leaders on the Phoenix roster, it stands to reason that the Kings will see the Coyotes’ best effort in Game 2 tomorrow. Darryl Sutter is certainly planning for that. The Coyotes went through an efficient, workmanlike practice today. Afterward, coach Dave Tippett, who after Game 1 could hardly contain his disdain for his team’s performance, seemed calmer and perhaps more clinical in terms of addressing how his team needed to improve.
TIPPETT: “There are some adjustments. You can work hard to get to a place. We all talk about it. Everybody’s going to work hard. It’s what you do after you get there that matters. We were around some battles. But once you get yourself into the battle, it’s the next step. How are you going to win that battle? For me sometimes it’s about will, sometimes about skill also, having the ability to make something positive happen. We just didn’t have enough. There’s so many instances in a game where there will be a puck up for grabs, (the) ability to get a forecheck stopped (to) create something. We just didn’t have enough of those last night. We had some. You look at on Boedker’s goal. That’s one of the few times we got in, separated somebody from the puck, had another guy there, had an opening. We need more opportunities like that or more situations where we put in the work and get results for it rather than put in the work and don’t finish the job.’’
Shane Doan and Boyd Gordon gave their thoughts on the Coyotes’ mindset going into Game 2…
DOAN: “We pretty much stay the same for the most part. We’re pretty businesslike. Last night’s loss, I think it was disappointing in the fact we didn’t play our best game. You’re in the conference final and you didn’t play your best game. Nothing you can do about it now. That’s kind of our attitude, you just got to be better. Every guy can be a lot better than we were last night. And give them credit, they played well, they played really well. I mean, they dominated.’’
GORDON: “We know we need to be better. They’re a very good team, they work really hard, they compete hard and they battle. So, I think if we come out there like we did in Game 1 we’re going to be in big trouble. So, it’s something where we have to clean up our game here quite a bit.”
And what about the Kings? Almost all of the talk today was about the Coyotes, and what they need to do better in Game 2. And while the Kings had a strong effort in Game 1, they were far from perfect. Phoenix’s two goals came largely because of Kings miscues. In general, though, Sutter said he would like to see his players be ready in the first period again.
SUTTER: “We had a lot of opportunities in the first period last night. I know that Dave and his staff are saying that they didn’t, probably didn’t play very well. We sure as hell better be ready again for that [improved play] tomorrow. It’s not about anything last night. Just knowing full well what they’re — I know the leadership group, I know what they’re expecting out of themselves for tomorrow.’’