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Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Coyotes need better execution


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Outscored 8-2 and outshot 88-51 through two games of the Western Conference finals, the Phoenix Coyotes somehow need to muster more of an attack.

But how? The Los Angeles Kings are controlling the puck offensively and smothering the Coyotes defensively.

"We have to have better execution with the puck," Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett told reporters Wednesday morning at the team’s practice facility. "We had some opportunities last night. We had two or three decent opportunities. We missed the net. We have to create more opportunities like that.

"It's pretty simple. The execution up the ice, the execution in the offensive zone has to be better. That goes for five-on-five and our power play."

The Coyotes have gotten almost nothing from first-line winger Radim Vrbata, who has gone five games without a goal and has only two in the postseason. He was a 35-goal man in the regular season. Without contributions from their top offensive guns like Vrbata, the Coyotes don't have any chance at all against the Kings.

"We'll have to generate something,” Vrbata said Wednesday. "Seems like there's not much going on in the offensive zone for us right now. We'll have to find something, get a good power play going, get a goal here or there. There's not going to be much probably. If you have to win 1-0, so be it. We just have to win a game."

Coyotes netminder Mike Smith in his postgame scrum Tuesday night was somewhat critical of his teammates, suggesting they needed to do more to get to the net and create more traffic in front of Kings netminder Jonathan Quick.

"If we expect to get 23 shots on a goalie of that caliber and not get anybody in front of the net, we've got another thing coming," Smith said. "He's too good a goalie to not get traffic, not get people in front. They are doing [that] down at my end, and pucks are finding their way in, hitting guys in front, and we have to penetrate down below their goal line, too."

Tippett was asked for his reaction Wednesday to Smith’s comments.

"He plays hard, just like everybody else. We expect them to play hard," said Tippett. "I think it's frustration right now from our group, that we haven't played as well as we like. I think Smitty feels that frustration just like the rest of our players do. They care about what we do, they care about winning. When you don't get the results you want, there's emotion and frustration that comes into play."

Certainly, Quick’s nights so far haven’t been the same as Smith's in terms of workloads through two games.

"No," said Tippett. "Our execution hasn't been near what it needs to be to get enough pucks towards their net. You know, you see their mindset is just to dump as many pucks as they could into our net. The reality is their execution is better up the ice to allow them to do that. Our execution, the ability to get pucks towards there, has to be there. The ratio of our execution to pucks at the net is not working out, what we'd like to see. That has to be more."

Doan in the clear

NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan tweeted Wednesday that Coyotes captain Shane Doan would not face any more supplemental discipline for his boarding penalty on Trevor Lewis from Game 2.

That was no surprise to Doan.

"None whatsoever," he said.

"I can't believe it's a five-minute major," Doan said earlier. "I know that the refs aren’t trying to do that, but at the same time I was incredibly disappointed in the fact that was the call. But it is what it is."