Phoenix Coyotes Need To Get Mentally Tough for Stretch Run

February 8th, 2011 by Mark Brown Leave a reply »
As the NHL season approaches its stretch drive, discipline and verve become just as important as actual physical skills.

That mentality is no different for the Phoenix Coyotes, a team in search for its second straight playoff apparence.

Within the last week, the Coyotes have demonstrated a range of possibilities, capabilities and agony. Following a weak 6-0 loss to Vancouver Feb. 2, and defeat which constituted a fifth straight loss on home ice, Phoenix rebounded. Two nights later, the Coyotes traveled deep into the streets of Victorian England to pull their Jeykll and Hyde routine.

Behind goalie Ilya Bryzgalov's 20th career shutout, Phoenix whitewashed visiting Minnesota 1-0 on Feb. 5, and two nights later, the 30-year-old native of Togliatti, Russia shut out Colorado 3-0. That was the first time Bryzgalov turned in back-to-back shutouts in the regular season.

After the Avs shutout, he adroitly reminded a reporter he had three straight shutouts in Stanley Cup play. That was in the 2006 playoffs with Anaheim, and two consecutive shutouts were the first by a rookie goalkeeper in the playoffs since 1945.&nb ...

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