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WEDNESDAY MORNING SKATE COVERAGE

COYOTES LOOKING TO FINISH THE FINAL FIVE GAMES STRONG

Wednesday, 03.26.2008 / 3:28 PM / Features
By Heath Price-Khan
After last night's exciting 5-4 overtime win over the San Jose Sharks, the Phoenix Coyotes pulled within 6pts of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. With five games left to play in the season, this team knows that they need to rattle off a winning streak and get a little help from the teams they are chasing.

Sometimes all it takes is one magic moment to turn a season around and spread hope all over the locker room. The question now is whether Martin Hanzal's overtime game winning goal can be that moment for the Coyotes.

There are so many positives from the Coyotes recent play to build off. All the young players continue to develop at a rapid pace and exceed expectations.

Enver Lisin has been praised after every game by Wayne Gretzky because of his continued development on the ice. Lisin chipped in with a goal last night, but more importantly, anyone watching the game noticed him shift after shift. His speed and ability to find open space on the ice gives the Coyotes an added dimension. Ask any hockey expert and they will tell you that you can never have too much speed.

Keith Yandle has also picked up his play recently and you can start to see his confidence growing day by day. His offensive skills are what got him to the NHL, but Yandle’s ability to handle his responsibilities on the backline continue to make him a valued commodity.

Dan Carcillo played a controlled game against the Sharks and was very active at both ends of the ice. He has the ability to make momentum shifting plays by taking the body and being aggressive on the forecheck. It is hard not to know when #13 is on the ice.

Daniel Winnik continues to be one of the most valuable Coyotes on the ice each game. Last night he displayed the type of passing ability that has to make you wonder about how high his ceiling as a player is. The pass he made to Derek Morris on a 2-on-1 was a world class play that only the most talented players in the NHL can make. He backed that up by making another superb feed to Shane Doan for a third period goal. This former ninth round draft pick continues to show glimpses of first round talent!

With all of these young guns working hard in practice and getting better each game anything is possible. Can these "Young Yotes" get on a roll and close out the season with a string of victories? If you ask anyone in the dressing room you will get the same answer. These guys believe in themselves and no one will have to worry about their effort when they step on the ice tomorrow night against the Los Angeles Kings.

After Wednesday's practice at the Alltel Ice Den in Scottsdale, PhoenixCoyotes.com caught up with Wayne Gretzky, Rick Tocchet, and Nick Boynton before the team departed for Los Angeles.

Wayne Gretzky

Rich Tocchet

Nick Boynton


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