Coyotes coach Tocchet to miss meeting with Kings

From FOX Sports - March 12, 2018

GLENDALE, Ariz.The man who has the Arizona Coyotes playing like a playoff teameven though they wont make the postseasonwont be behind the bench Tuesday night.

First-year Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet is taking a leave of absence to deal with a family illness, so assistant coach John MacLean will coach them against the Los Angeles Kings, a team that is back in control of its playoff destiny.

Family comes first, Coyotes general manager John Chayka said in a statement issued Monday. Our thoughts and prayers are with Toc (Tocchet) as he deals with his personal matter. Its important that he takes the time to be there with his family.

MacLean, who spent 19 NHL seasons as a player, coached the New Jersey Devils at the start of the 2010-11 season but was let go after the team went 9-22-2 in its first 33 games.

Chayka did not indicate how long Tocchetwho won the Stanley Cup the last two seasons as a Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coachwould be away from the team. He coached them to a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night at Gila River Arena.

The Kings moved into third place in the Western Conference on Monday by also shutting out the Canucks, this time by 3-0 as goaltender Jonathan Quick turned aside all 28 shots he faced. Anze Kopitar scored his 28th goal, and Adrian Kempe assisted on Tyler Toffolis 22nd goal and Tanner Pearson 13th. Toffoli also assisted on Pearsons goal.

The Coyotes are 22-35-11 and own the NHLs worst record, but theyve turned it around in the second half of the season and are 4-1-1 in their last six games and 10-3-2 in their past 15. Theyre 13-7-6 since the start of the year, beating the Canucks for the second time in five days behind backup goaltender Darcy Kuempers first shutout with Arizona, a 27-save effort.

The Coyotes kept their recent surge going as defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored the game-winning goal Sunday at 15:07 of the second period, his 10th goal of the season. His 27 game-winning goals since he broke into the NHL in 2010-11 are the most among NHL defensemen during that time.


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