Phoenix Coyotes: Playoff Readiness Tested by Blackhawks, Capitals

February 13th, 2011 by Mark Brown Leave a reply »
If the Phoenix Coyotes are to demonstrate their mettle during this run to the playoffs, mid-February back-to-back games may be a telling barometer.

In facing the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks Feb. 12 and the Alex Ovechkin-led Washington Capitals two nights later, that kind of competition could help define the Coyotes' emotional state.

Aside from playing a solid 60 minutes every night, Phoenix must also find ways to win. Coach Dave Tippett constantly tells reporters that the race for Western Conference playoff spots will be highly contested. Tippett likes to point out that, to be prepared, the mental and emotional game needs to be fever pitch each night.

That was evident in the first half of this important two-game set against Chicago. Before their second sell-out crowd of the season, the Coyotes jumped out to an early lead, and lost that advantage and eventually defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout.

The win was the Coyotes' fourth in a row since a 6-0 debacle to Vancouver at home Feb. 2.

"We looked at the Vancouver game as a slap in the face," said Tippett after ...

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