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Tocchet: Coyotes need to be more prepared at start of games

Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet talks with referee Steve Kozari (40) during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

If the Arizona Coyotes would have beat the Boston Bruins on Saturday, they would have jumped into the final automatic playoff spot in the Pacific Division for the first time this season.

Instead, the Coyotes gave up two goals in the first 2:45 and couldn’t recover, losing 2-1.

Slow starts have plagued the Coyotes this season and head coach Rick Tocchet is ready to find a solution to the problem.

Tocchet told Burns and Gambo on Wednesday that he will experiment with different tactics during upcoming games to ensure his team is focused for all 60 minutes.

“This team has to understand that there are games we just have to win,” Tocchet said on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “It doesn’t matter who we are playing. Some teams come in beat up, tired and you have to be ready and I don’t think we were ready from the start [against Boston].

“I take responsibility for that and I’m going to change a few things up before games to make sure they’re ready.”

The game against the Bruins was especially frustrating for Tocchet.

Boston was playing its third game in four nights — including the second game of a back-to-back — and was missing several players to injury, including star forward Patrice Bergeron.

So what specifically does Tocchet want to do to combat his team’s early-game struggles?

“I’m not a big believer that I have to make [the players] robotic, but I may have to script a few plays early in the game,” Tocchet said. “I don’t like doing that, but if we have a steady diet of not being ready to play, you have to think outside of the box.”

Time will tell if the Coyotes come out better.

Burns & Gambo

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