Coyotes look to give Kuemper help in Game 4 vs. Avs

NHL Hockey

Goaltender Darcy Kuemper came up big for the Arizona Coyotes in Game 3, keeping his team in its Western Conference playoff series against the Colorado Avalanche.

Now it’s time for the Coyotes’ power play to do the same.

The Coyotes are 0-for-9 with the man advantage in the series, which Colorado leads two games to one.

Game 4 is scheduled for Monday night in Edmonton.

“There’s more from us,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet told reporters. “We’re doing a (heck) of a job on the penalty kill — that’s a potent power play (Colorado is 1-for-9 in the series). The silver lining is we won (Game 3) and haven’t had our best power play yet. This power play’s got to get going for us, and we’ve got to tilt the ice.”

The Coyotes won Game 3 by a 4-2 score as Kuemper made 49 saves. Arizona added two empty-net goals against the second-seeded Avalanche.

“We have to step up. It’s great that we got a win (in Game 3) with our power play playing like that,” Coyotes forward Taylor Hall said. “But we just have to get more to the net, more chaos, more rebounds, more zone time. That’s got to be our M.O. and our game plan.”

Arizona has been outshot in six of its seven games in the postseason, including 51-23 in Game 3. Kuemper, who has faced at least 40 shots five times since the season resumed, also made 49 saves in the series clincher against Nashville in the qualifying round.

“I think a lot of guys probably on our team take (Kuemper) for granted at times,” Hall said. “If we can minimize his workload by playing a little bit more offensively, a little bit more on our toes, little bit more on the forecheck and creating turnovers, it’s going to be a harder game for (the Avalanche) and make it easier on him.”

The Coyotes also blocked a season-high 27 shots in Game 3.

“It definitely speaks to Arizona’s grittiness and the way they’re playing and the commitment they have and the sacrifices they’re making, no question,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “They’re getting in shooting lanes all over the place.”

The Avalanche have outshot the Coyotes 119-69 through three games and Bednar said he plans no major changes.

“You know we’ve had our moments, but that was probably the best night we’ve had in the O-zone of the series,” Bednar said of Game 3. “Not just spending time, but I’m guessing also creating opportunities and using our legs and, you know, taking space when it’s available, pretty good execution.

“I mean my message is keep doing what you’re doing,” Bednar said. “The key is you can’t just keep doing what you’re doing on the offensive side of it and then have a mental breakdown and give up an easy goal against. Hey, Arizona has earned enough scoring chances on their own, we don’t have to give them easy goals. If you look at the two goals tonight, that’s on us. That’s not on them, that’s on us. It’s a full-possession turnover to a goal against. It’s a bunch of room in front of us so we turn it over, bad line change, odd-man rush against, goal against. It’s simple, we’ve got to finish the job.”

–Field Level Media

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