Coyotes aim to bounce back against Panthers

( – The bad news for the Arizona Coyotes is that they have
only one victory over their past five games.

The good news is that on Thursday night they get to play the lone team they
have beaten over that span as the Coyotes visit the Panthers and BB&T Center.

The Coyotes have gone 1-3-1 in their past five, following up a 2-1 overtime
victory against the Panthers on Saturday with a 7-3 setback to the hosting
Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. The Bolts were paced by Nikita Kucherov’s
first career hat trick.

Shane Doan, Martin Erat and B.J. Crombeen scored for the Coyotes, with Doan
getting his first goal of the season.

Mike Smith, who spent parts of four seasons with Tampa Bay from 2007-11,
turned aside 27-of-33 shots before being pulled in the third period. Devan
Dubnyk made one save in relief.

“(We made) a lot of poor decisions with the puck and (didn’t execute) at the
level we need to execute. Simple as that,” said Coyotes coach Dave Tippett.

Arizona lost the opener of a four-game road trip and is 0-2-1 as the visiting
team this season. It has been outscored 13-7 on the road.

The Coyotes hope to rebound against the Panthers, who have been idle since a
2-1 overtime setback in Arizona on Saturday. Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the
winner 2:20 into extra time on the power play as Florida’s Aleksander Barkov
was whistled for a high-sticking penalty.

Ekman-Larsson took a pass from Sam Gagner and beat Roberto Luongo from the
left circle. Justin Hodgman tied the game midway through the third period and
Smith made 23 saves.

Brandon Pirri scored the lone goal for the Panthers, who went 2-0-2 on a four-
game road trip. Luongo stopped 39-of-41 shots.

“We have to be smarter. We can’t take however many penalties we took today.
We’ll kill some, but especially in overtime it is tough to kill,” Luongo said.

The Panthers are now set to play two in a row at home and are hoping to have
Dave Bolland back from a lower-body injury that has sidelined him for three

The Coyotes have won four in a row and seven of their last nine versus the
Panthers, taking three straight and five of six in Florida.