The Coyotes haven’t let up much since they smashed the Kings 6-3 on opening night. They’re off to a 6-2 start, a credit to new coach Dave Tippett and the team’s ability to ignore the ownership mess here in Phoenix. The Coyotes have won four consecutive games and are coming off a 3-2 overtime win over Detroit here on Thursday. They hit the road after this, so they’ll be looking to finish the homestand 4-0. Here’s what Terry Murray said about the Coyotes’ play…
MURRAY: “It seems like their strength right now is their motivation to show to the hockey world that they got a good thing going here. They want to make it work and they want to get the fans to the building and I think the players have really done a tremendous job, in the games that I’ve watched, to bring energy and compete and play at a high level.”
Murray was also asked about the play of goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who has a 1.26 goals-against average and has stopped 166 of 175 shots (.949 save percentage) in seven games.
MURRAY: “I think it’s the overall structure. I mean, he’s a good goaltender, there’s no doubt. I’m not taking anything away from his game, but the structure on the checking part of the game has really been a big focus for them. Any time a team plays with that mindset, your goaltending, in most cases, will show pretty good improvement in numbers, when you’re cutting back in those grade-A scoring chances against and goals against.”
Finally, Murray was asked about what needed to change, from the Kings’ standpoint, from that first game at Staples Center.
MURRAY: “I really felt, at the end of that game, that the opening-night jitters were very evident for us. I think our mindset is at a better place today than what it was at that time, but we know we have to come out good. It’s going to be a hard game. This team has got a lot of commitment to each other and they’ve got a lot of momentum behind them right now, so coming out and playing with the proper mindset, on our part of it, is going to be critical. That first 10 minutes in this building is real important for us tonight.”