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Coyotes look to make more shots vs. Wild

Sports Xchange
16 Oct 2018, 16:16 GMT+10

Getting shots on goal hasn't been the problem for the Arizona Coyotes.

Getting them into the goal has been the issue, one that might not get any easier to solve Tuesday night when they start a four-game road trip by aiming pucks at Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk.

Although Minnesota (1-2-2) lost 4-2 Monday night in Nashville with backup Alex Stalock between the pipes, Dubnyk isn't the reason for its slow start. All he's done in four games is post a .934 save percentage, going 1-1-2 with a 2.64 goals-against average.

He's faced an average of 41.8 shots per game, including a ridiculous 57 Saturday in a 5-4 overtime loss to Carolina. Without Dubnyk, the Wild probably don't steal a point in that game or in a 2-1 OT setback to Vegas on Oct. 6, when Dubnyk stopped 41 of 42 shots.

"He's been our No. 1 star in all four games that he's played," Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said following the loss against the Hurricanes. "In a realistic world, you're happy you got a point out of that."

For his part, Dubnyk isn't worried about the Wild's slow start, not just to the season, but to games. They coughed up the first goal Monday night for the fourth time in five games, and even though they tied it after 20 minutes, they spent most of the game's remainder in chase mode again.

"I think we're all proud in here and we all know how good we can be, so we have just got to figure it out," Dubnyk said. "We know we have a great group in here. I think we all agree we can be better."

As for Arizona (1-3-0), its mission is simple, according to coach Rick Tocchet: Don't allow frustration to govern your game. He gave that speech minutes after it outshot Buffalo 36-23 Saturday, but couldn't beat backup goalie Linus Ullmark in a 3-0 setback.

The Coyotes have driven play in the early going, putting 146 shots on net to the opponents' 93. But aside from a 3-2 win on Wednesday in Anaheim, they haven't scored a goal.

"I know everybody's frustrated," Tocchet said. "The coaching staff's frustrated. Everybody's frustrated we're not scoring goals. You're trying your best to figure it out, but at the end of the day, you've just got to be able to will yourself a goal."

Arizona has pumped at least 30 shots on goal in every game, the first time it's done that in the first four games since 1985-86, when the franchise was playing in Winnipeg.

Part of the problem might be the lack of proven snipers on the roster. Only two players have scored 30 goals in a season. Michael Grabner is eight years removed from doing it with the New York Islanders and Alex Galchenyuk, who scored 30 three years ago for Montreal, is currently sidelined with a lower-body injury.

"I'd like to see somebody score a goal," Tocchet said. "We've had point-blank shots in the slot. You just got to keep shooting, I guess. You got to work at your game. I don't have a recipe other than that."

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