ARIZONA COYOTES

Coyotes to be without Oliver Ekman-Larsson for Vegas matchup

Jan 17, 2021, 1:44 PM | Updated: 2:57 pm
FILE - This Jan. 6, 2019, file photo shows Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson skating ...

FILE - This Jan. 6, 2019, file photo shows Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson skating against the New York Rangers during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso, File)

The Arizona Coyotes will be without captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson when they start a four-game series against the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday.

OEL suffered a lower body injury after a hard hit into the boards by the San Jose Sharks’ Evander Kane in the third period of Saturday’s game. The defenseman was helped off the ice and didn’t return to the game.

Head coach Rick Tocchet told reporters via Zoom Sunday that Ekman-Larsson is day-to-day going forward, but would not be traveling to Las Vegas with the team.

Through the first two games of the season, OEL has recorded three assists and averaged 19:22 minutes on the ice.

The team will look to either Kyle Capobianco, who has been a healthy scratch the last two games, or Jordan Gross on the taxi squad to fill the open slot.

Gross played in two games for the Coyotes last season, recording one assist and three shots on goal. He may be the more likely candidate to take the ice, as he shoots the same as Ekman-Larsson.

“That’s something we’re going to have to mull over tonight,” the head coach said.

As the team prepares to face the current West division leader, Tocchet likened the games to a playoff series, but is undeterred by the length and solely focusing on Monday first.

“They’re a good hockey club,” he said. “They’re built to win a Stanley Cup so we’ve got to be ready with five man units.”

The Golden Knights are projected as top contenders after signing free agent defenseman Alex Pietrangelo in the offseason. In ESPN’s final NHL preseason rankings, Vegas took the No. 3 spot behind the Lightning and Avalanche.

But Tocchet believes his team is more than ready for the challenge, as long as they adopt the right mindset.

“They’ve got some top end players, he said. “They’ve got some high-end guys that can score. … I don’t want to be going in there and being intimidated. We shouldn’t be intimidated if we play the right way.

“We’ve got to have some swagger going in there, knowing that if we play our game, we can beat this team.”

Arizona Coyotes

Conor Timmins #25 of the Arizona Coyotes controls the puck against Eric Robinson #50 of the Columbu...
Associated Press

Blue Jackets breeze past Coyotes in season opener

The Arizona Coyotes dropped the season opener and first game under coach Andre Tourigny 8-2 on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
2 days ago
Andrew Ladd #16 of the Arizona Coyotes at a faceoff during a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings in ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes name alternate captains for season opener

The Arizona Coyotes have named their alternate captains for the season opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
2 days ago
FILE - In this July 1, 2021, file photo, Arizona Coyotes new head coach Andre Tourigny speaks durin...
Associated Press

Arizona Coyotes enter 2021-22 with overhauled roster

With a slew of new faces, the Arizona Coyotes are hoping to reshape a franchise that’s been to the playoffs just once in the past nine years.
2 days ago
Goaltender Anson Thornton #56 of the Arizona Coyotes looks down ice during the third period of the ...
Arizona Sports

Coyotes sign goaltender Anson Thornton to 3-year entry-level deal

After spending training camp with the team on a amateur tryout, the Arizona Coyotes have signed G Anson Thornton to an entry-level deal.
3 days ago
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 07:  A shot by William Karlsson #71 of the Vegas Golden Knights gets by...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes ranked 31st by ESPN in 1st power rankings

It's going to be a transition year for the Arizona Coyotes. There's practically no choice for it not to be after the offseason they had.
4 days ago
Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller shoots on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews (7) d...
Arizona Sports

Shane Doan: Coyotes in ‘considerably harder division’

The Arizona Coyotes have joined the Central Division, which will present challenges with stiff competition and longer travel.
3 days ago
Coyotes to be without Oliver Ekman-Larsson for Vegas matchup