GLENDALE – After beginning the season with zero points in his first three games with the Coyotes, center Mike Ribeiro is starting to heat up.
“I’m getting more comfortable, that’s for sure,” Ribeiro said after Saturday’s 5-2 win over Detroit, in which he scored two third-period goals. “…When the team plays good everyone looks good, so it’s getting easier and hopefully I can keep helping the team.”
Thinking too much, Ribeiro said, played a role in his slow start with Phoenix.
“I’m just trying to be closer to the net,’ said Ribeiro, who has notched 12 shots on goal in the past three games after taking just eight in the first six games. “I feel like since the beginning of the season I’m almost all the time ... closer to the boards. If you want to score goals you have to be closer to the net.”
Ribeiro will enter Tuesday’s home game vs. Calgary with a six-game point streak and tied for second on the team with seven points.
“He finds a way to have an impact on the game,” Head Coach Tippett said. “He's a quirky player but he can do good things for you and tonight was a good example of that.”
• Not counting a tough night on Saturday, center Antoine Vermette is dominating opponents in the faceoff circles this season.
Vermette has won more than 50 percent of his draws in all but two of the team’s first nine games, and in five of those games he won more than 63 percent.
A closer look reveals Vermette has won an NHL-high 136 draws and that his 60.7 percent success rate is third best in the League.
Beyond faceoffs, Vermette has been a key penalty killer, and recently he’s been chipping in points. He’ll enter Tuesday’s game with a three-game point streak (two goals, two assists).
• By now, everyone knows Mike Smith scored a last-second, empty-net goal in Saturday’s win over Detroit. Eleven goalies in NHL history have scored a goal, but only seven, including Smith, actually shot a puck into a net.
Forward Paul Bissonnette took to his Twitter account - @BizNasty2point0- on Saturday night to address Smith's historic goal.
His tweet read:
"Save your energy guys, I got this one. Hey @BizNasty2point0, your goalie has more goals than you. #YouSuck#Plug"
• Smith was upset with himself and his teammates following Friday’s shootout loss at Anaheim. After that game, he told reporters the Coyotes were “scared to win.”
After Saturday’s win, Smith reflected on his comments from the night before.
“I might have overreacted a little bit with last night’s comments, but that’s the way I felt and, like I said, I might have been a little harsh, but I thought we responded,” Smith said. “Not just from what I said, but we just played the way we need to play.”
• The Coyotes ushered in the team’s new tailgating era on Saturday before the team’s dramatic win over Detroit.
On a sunny Arizona fall day, fans showed up several hours before the arena opened to take part in the festivities and mingle with others in a fan-friendly, hockey environment in parking lots A, B, G, J, K and Y.
Co-owner, Executive Chairman and Governor George Gosbee joined Howler, the Paw Patrol and other team ambassadors in welcoming fans to the first of 17 official tailgating experiences this season.
Gosbee even showed off his grilling skills (see right).
• Captain Shane Doan recently moved into second place on the team’s all-time points list but he’s got some work to do to catch the franchise leader.
Forward Dale Hawerchuk notched 929 points over nine seasons when the franchise was based in Winnipeg.
Doan, who passed Thomas Steen with an assist vs. Anaheim on Friday, now has 818 points.
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