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Surging Coyotes could tie for West lead

NHL.com @NHL
What can the Phoenix Coyotes possibly do as an encore for Saturday night? How about claim first place in the Pacific Division and move into a tie for the Western Conference lead.

Believe it or not, that could happen Sunday if the Coyotes can win their road game against the Dallas Stars and the San Jose Sharks lose to the Edmonton Oilers. Phoenix holds an eight-game winning streak after Saturday's come-from-behind victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

If those scenarios occur, the Coyotes would tie the Blackhawks atop the West with 97 points. The Blackhawks would technically still hold the No. 1 seed, by virtue of having two games in hand. There could be a three-way tie for the conference lead if the Sharks, who currently have 96 points, lost to the Oilers in either overtime or a shootout.

Also, the Coyotes could take over undisputed possession of first place in the Pacific Division with a win and a Sharks' regulation loss.

Regardless of what takes place Sunday, the Coyotes figure to fight for Western supremacy the rest of the season and into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a startling turnaround for a franchise that hasn't tasted postseason play since 2002 and dealt with all sorts of turmoil during the offseason centering around ownership issues and possible relocation.

In the past four days, Phoenix rallied from three goals down in the third period for a 4-3 shootout win in Florida, then returned home to a rollicking, sold-out Jobing.com Arena on Saturday night and overcame a pair of two-goal deficits for a 5-4 shootout win over the Blackhawks.

"That's us. We never quit and we just keep coming," said forward Radim Vrbata, who scored the decisive shootout goal in each of the last two games. "We tie it once, then we get down two goals again against a great team … but we didn't quit. We came back and found a way."
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