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'Yotes Notes: Team Has Embraced Playoff Mentality with 21 Games to Play

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE -- The regular season is only about three-fourths of the way over, and yet the Coyotes have shifted into a high-level of urgency often reserved for the last few games of the season and not the last 21.

"All it takes is a look in the standings and a look at the results lately and that would push you into desperation mode," Head Coach Dave Tippett said Monday. "... There's still a chance to be a playoff team."

Photo by Norm Hall.

The Western Conference standings are crowded around the eighth-place position. The Dallas Stars are holding that spot right now, but the Coyotes and two other teams - Winnipeg and Vancouver - all are within one point heading into Monday's games.

The Coyotes and Canucks are set to play on Tuesday night at Arena in a textbook "four-point game."

The Coyotes did not practice on Monday. Instead they watched video as a group and worked out off the ice.

"We need every ounce of energy we can (get)," Tippett said, when asked to explain why only three players skated on Monday. "We look at it almost like a playoff mode. You just can’t waste energy right now. We need to have all the energy we can for the game."

• Meanwhile, Tippett said center Martin Hanzal, who left Sunday’s game in the third period because of a lower-body injury, received treatment on Monday and is questionable for Tuesday’s game.

• When forward Paul Bissonnette scored Phoenix’s first goal on Sunday he established a new career high for points in a season with seven. Bissonnette has two goals and five assists this season.

• Goalie Mike Smith, who ranks first among all NHL goalies in games (51), shots against (1,559), saves (1,422) and time on ice (2,957), is expected to start Tuesday’s game.

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