Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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Coyotes Pick Up Key Points, Win In Pittsburgh

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[March 26, 2014]  PITTSBURGH  The Phoenix Coyotes picked up a good road win on Tuesday, a night after suffering a deflating loss.

Goaltender Thomas Greiss did solid work filling in for injured Mike Smith and left winger Mikkel Boedker scored the winning goal and added an assist as the Coyotes beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2.

Greiss made 24 saves as the Coyotes (35-26-1) snapped a two-game losing streak and won for the eighth time in their last 10 games. Phoenix entered the night one point ahead of the Dallas Stars for the second and final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Smith sat out because of a right leg injury suffered Monday night in a loss to the Rangers in New York. The Coyotes led 3-2 in that game when Smith left, but Greiss allowed the tying and winning goals.

Smith, who had started 12 consecutive games, is listed as day to day.

"It was one of those nights when you had to do whatever it takes, and we did what it took," Coyotes right winger Shane Doan said. "It's big in the fact that we played without Smittty who has been such a huge part of our team for the past three years. You're missing him and it's tough.

"For Greisser to come in and play the way he did made it easier. It gives you confidence because if you can win in Pittsburgh then you can win anywhere."


Boedker put the Coyotes up 3-2 at 13:18 of the second period when he knocked in a rebound of a shot by defenseman Michael Stone for his 18th goal of the season.

Right winger David Moss (seventh) and center Antoine Vermette (24th) also scored for the Coyotes. Doan had two assists.

The Penguins' goals were scored by left wingers Jussi Jokinen (18th) and Taylor Pyatt (third).

Pittsburgh (46-21-5) played without center Evgeni Malkin, who will miss two to three weeks with a foot injury. The team did not elaborate on the nature of the injury but said he was hurt during his first shift in the Penguins' previous game on Sunday, a loss to the St. Louis Blues.

Malkin was sixth in the NHL in scoring with 72 points entering Tuesday's play.

"Every time you lose a player like that, it's a big blow for the team," Jokinen said. "At the same time, we've dealt with a lot of injuries during the year and it might be the same case during the playoffs, and we're losing one of our big names to injury, we still need to find a way to win some games. There's only one Evgeni Malkin in the world."

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The Penguins (46-21-5) missed a chance to clinch their eighth consecutive Stanley Cup playoff berth and are 2-4-1 in their last seven games. However, they own a commanding 13-point lead over the Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.

The Penguins also lead the NHL with a 447 man-games lost to injury. However, coach Dan Bylsma scoffed at the idea that injuries might catching up to his team late in the season.

"I don't see that," Bylsma said. "The question is only only being asked because we're not winning games. I don't think injuries had anything to do with our game today or what you saw on the ice. We didn't play well."

While Bylsma was lamenting the Penguins' play, Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was pleased with his team's performance.

"Greiss made some saves when he had to and the compete level by everyone was very good," Tippett said.

NOTES: The Penguins recalled C Jayson Megna from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, where he had 14 points on nine goals and five assists in 25 games. ... Penguins C Joe Vitale was scratched for a third consecutive game with an upper-body injury. ... Penguins D Paul Martin, who suffered a broken hand last month at the Olympics, will have his next set of X-rays on Sunday. ... Coyotes LW Lauri Korpikoski missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury and D David Schlemko was scratched with a lower-body injury. ... The Coyotes recalled G Mark Visentin from Portland of the AHL, where he was 14-19-5 with a 3.30 goals-against average. ... Penguins D Robert Bortuzzo was credited with five hits. ... The Penguins host the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night and the Coyotes visit the New Jersey Devils.

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