Coyotes lose Ekman-Larsson, then drop game to Blue Jackets

Post-game comments from both locker rooms following the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0 loss to the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night…

Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett on tonight’s game:

“Well, we just didn’t play well enough, we didn’t execute well enough, we didn’t compete hard enough, and we made some mistakes… The two goals they got were on the power play, the one was playing the puck in the no play zone and the other one we flipped out, took another penalty with three defensemen on the ice, you can’t make mistakes like that and expect to win, we just didn’t execute well enough.”

Tippett on Phoenix Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson:

“He looked alright, we’ll call him day-to-day with an upper body injury, but we kept him out as a precaution.”

Tippett on special teams being a factor:

“They’re always going to be a factor in tight games. You hope your guys can do a good job and kill (the penalty). I thought Smitty (Phoenix Goaltender Mike Smith) was pretty good tonight, actually. The second power play goal they got a break on him where he flips it at the net it, comes right out, rebounds off two guys and comes right out the slot and sometimes that happens.”

Coyotes Defenseman Keith Yandle on tonight’s game:

“It’s one of those things. (We) didn’t get the bounces; obviously, we didn’t win the specialty games. In this league, if you don’t capitalize on power plays and you give up some penalty kill goals it’s tough to win, but you’ve got to give them credit, they played well. (Columbus Goaltender Curtis) McElhinney played great for them. It’s just something, we’ve got to get back on the horse and get back out on Saturday.”

Yandle on losing Ekman-Larsson early in the game:

“Losing anybody is tough but losing a guy like Oliver is really tough. It hurts even strength, power play, penalty kill. You hope he’s okay. I didn’t see the hit, I didn’t see how’s he’s doing, but hopefully he’s fine.”

Coyotes Goaltender Mike Smith on tonight’s game:

“It kind of brought flash backs of the Buffalo game in some sense. I think our intensity was a little better but I think we didn’t manage the puck very well tonight and because of it we exert a lot of energy chasing the puck back in our end and you lose Ekman-Larsson early in the game like that and you turn pucks over, it puts a lot of stress on five defense and you had Yandle in the box for five minute there sticking up for him which was the right move, a lot of credit to him, but like I said, you turn the puck over as much as we do and you play five ‘D,’ it wears on them and the outcome of the game is probably just the way it played out.”

Smith on his performance tonight:

“Obviously, the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, but personally I felt like I needed to come in tonight and rebound and for the most part, I thought I did that. But it’s about winning games, it’s not about personal achievement, so I felt good, but disappointed with the outcome.”

Blue Jackets Head Coach Todd Richards on what the difference was tonight for his team:

“I don’t know if there was a lot of things different. Our penalty kill and our special teams were the biggest difference, but five-on-five and how we played the game; I didn’t see much difference from this game compared to our last two or three. I thought we played hard, checked well; we did some things to create some offense in the offensive zone…”

Richards on his team’s play tonight:

“I think it was everyone on point. They did a good job early on, on our power plays. We struggled to just get it into their zone, and we got a little better in the second period. Then, obviously, in the third period and we scored two goals. Some of it, too, is just having (Columbus Forward) Nathan (Horton) in there, when you have that right hand shot and the real threat in the slot; to me it opens up other things.”

RichardsOn on Horton:

“He did a lot of good things, and I am excited because I am expecting more now. This is his first game, kind of getting his feet wet and getting comfortable with the group out on the ice. There is still some more systematically that we have to do, but I thought it was a great start for him.”

Blue Jackets Forward RJ Umberger on his team’s response after the Colorado game:

“We thought that since the Christmas break has been over we’ve played pretty good hockey. Deserved better results probably against Pittsburgh and Colorado, but it was the same message for tonight. Let’s come out, get pucks in deep and keep working the way we were. The will and the works have been there, forechecks been great and tonight I think the difference was the special teams for us.”

Umberger on shutting out Phoenix:

“We had a big talk about it yesterday, the PK (penalty kill) went over some things. Not just the PK, but the PP (power play), I think, needed to do a better job for us in the last couple of games and take pressure off our PK. If we could have got goals early in the first (period) in the last couple of games it would have been different, but tonight it was a difference, two goals scored and none against on the PK, that was the difference.”

Blue Jackets Forward Nathan Horton on getting a win tonight:

“Obviously, it’s nice to help and contribute in that way, but it was just fun. We work hard and you can tell that we are a good team when we work hard and I really enjoyed being out there with the guys, it was so much fun.”

Horton on looking comfortable tonight:

“Sometimes I felt good, sometimes I felt bad. It’s been a long time since I played, but I was really happy and in the end we won the game and that is all that matters.”

UPDATE – 3pm on January 3, 2014:

Derek MacKenzie was suspended three games for his hit on Ekman-Larson, as explained here:

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