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COYOTES SKATE SATURDAY, EAGER FOR GAME 3

Saturday, 04.17.2010 / 8:18 PM / Features
By Dave Vest
DETROIT – The Coyotes flew to Detroit on Saturday morning and, after a brief stop at the team hotel to drop off their bags, practiced for about an hour at Joe Louis Arena. The players then went out for dinner as a group.

Game 3 of their best-of-seven playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings is Sunday at 3 p.m. local time (noon in Arizona). The series is tied 1-1.

The Coyotes finished practicing about 7 p.m. on Saturday. Asked why the team practiced, Head Coach Dave Tippett said: “Because it’s an afternoon game tomorrow and we had a three-hour flight and (there were a) couple of little things that we wanted to work on. I talked to our players and everybody wanted to get a little sweat on.”

If the Coyotes were rattled by losing Game 2 at home, 7-4, they didn’t show it on or off the ice on Saturday.

“The mood is very good,” Tippett said. “We realize we lost one game and we’ve got to get back in Game 3. We need to be at our best tomorrow to give ourselves the best chance to win. Right now our group … is all in. They’ll do whatever it takes for them to be the best tomorrow, and our group decided that skating today was the best thing for them.“

Vernon Fiddler
Center Vernon Fiddler, who suffered an upper-body injury in the third period of Game 2 on Friday night at Jobing.com Arena, flew with the team to Detroit but did not practice Saturday. He is listed as day-to-day and may play Sunday.

“It’s a huge loss for us if he’s not able to play,” forward Taylor Pyatt said after Saturday’ practice. “He brings so much fire and enthusiasm and energy to our lineup. But others guys are there and ready to step in and do the job if he can’t. Hopefully, he’ll be able to go.”

Robert Lang filled in for Fiddler at center at Saturday's practcie on a line with Pyatt and Lee Stempniak. Lang has not played in the series because of a lower-body injury. He last played on March 4.

“We’ll see how it’s going to be in the morning,” Lang said. “If Fids is not going to go I may get the green light and we’ll go from there… Hopefully I’ll see myself out there very soon….I’m anxious and definitely looking forward to it.”
 
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