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The Desert Dog Blog: Road-Trip Sweep Would Negate Slow Start

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE -- Two games, two wins.

That’s how the Coyotes have started a weeklong road trip that will conclude with a third game at Nashville on Thursday night.

Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett recently asked his elite players to play like elite players, and Mike Smith and Shane Doan answered that request in wins at San Jose and Colorado. Role players Boyd Gordon and Kyle Chipchura chipped in nicely, too.

Now it’s time to get greedy.

Earning four (or even five) out of six points on this trip would certainly be respectable, but given the hole Phoenix dug itself with a 1-4-0 start, a nice lengthy winning streak is needed to completely erase the early-season stumble.

And the Coyotes have played very well vs. Nashville under Tippett. Phoenix, of course, bounced the Preds from the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs in five games last season in the conference semifinals. Beyond that, the Coyotes have posted a 4-1-1 record at Nashville in the regular season in Tippett’s three-plus seasons.

Photo by Getty Images.

• I received a few high fives and some complimentary tweets this morning for correctly predicting on Twitter that Shane Doan would have a “huge impact” on last night’s 3-2 overtime win over Colorado. Doan notched two goals and an assist and was named the game’s No. 1 Star.

I was quickly reminded, however, that I rank 18th out of 20 in my fantasy golf league predictions.

So, no, I probably won’t be making any more public predictions any time soon.

Meanwhile, I thought the best part of Doan’s night’s was his celebration after he scored the game-winning goal with less than a minute left in overtime. It’s not quite “Doan Face” from the playoffs a few years back, but it’s pretty fun to watch. Click this link and check it out.

Steve Sullivan

• I will be eager to see the reception Coyotes forward Steve Sullivan receives when he takes the ice against Nashville on Thursday night. Sullivan played 317 games for the Predators and ranks in the top-six on Nashville’s all-time goals and all-time points lists.

Sullivan played for Pittsburgh last season, but Thursday’s game will be his first back in Music City since he left after 2010-11. In 25 games vs. Nashville before he played there, Sullivan notched 20 points (four goals, 16 assists).

• Coyotes first-round draft pick Henrik Samuelsson continues to tear it up in the Western Hockey League this season.

Samuelsson, whom the Coyotes chose 27th overall at last year’s NHL Entry Draft, has notched 70 points (29 goals, 41 assists) in 58 games for the Edmonton Oil Kings. That point total ranks 12th in the WHL.

• The “NHL Alumni-Celebrity Play for the Gray Hockey Challenge” is this Friday at the Ice Den in Scottsdale. TV stars Dave Coulier, Chad Lowe and Alan Thicke are among the celebrities scheduled to participate. Former Coyotes Tyson Nash and Greg Adams, and arena host Mathew Blades, also are set to play. Visit for more info.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Follow Dave Vest on Twitter at @davest4yotes.

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