After having what some might call a “quiet season,” Coyotes forward Taylor Pyatt
is making an impact at a very crucial time.
Pyatt’s offensive production - nine goals and 10 assists in 73 regular-season games this season - was down from his 18 goals and 13 assists a year ago, but his play heated up at the tail end of this regular season and on Thursday he scored the team’s first goal of the playoffs.
Pyatt returned from an injury on April 3 against Columbus, and he notched three points in the final three games of the regular season, including a two-goal performance in the regular-season finale last Saturday in Minnesota.
And now Pyatt has brought that momentum to the postseason. With the Coyotes trailing, 1-0, in the second period in their Game 1 match-up against Chicago in the Western Conference quarterfinals, Pyatt beat Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, giving his team a huge shift of momentum en route to its 3-2 overtime victory.
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“I was just trying to get in on the forecheck and I think their defenseman kind of lost his stick and tried to shovel it back to the goalie, and Lanks (forward Daymond Langkow
) just made a real nice play from behind the net. I tried to get it up and over the goalie,” Pyatt said. “It just feels good to score those playoff goals.”
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett talked after practice on Friday about Pyatt and the boost he gives the team when he’s healthy and in the lineup.
“He’s a good playoff player,” Tippett said. “He plays big, hard minutes. He’s good around the net. He hasn’t had the numbers he had last year, but when he’s had the opportunity to play, when he’s been healthy, he’s been a good player for us.”
Pyatt, who is making his sixth career postseason experience, understands the type of hockey that’s played in the postseason and is ready for the challenge.
“It’s going to be a real tight, hard-fought series,” said Pyatt, who has five goals and 10 assists in 42 career playoff games. “It’s important not to get too high or too low during the series.”