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Win gives Doan another chance at returning

by Brian Compton
DETROIT -- This one was for Shane.
With their captain physically unable to perform on Sunday afternoon for the third straight game, the Phoenix Coyotes stepped up in all facets and skated away with a 5-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena in Game 6 of this Western Conference Quarterfinal.
Shane Doan, who suffered an upper-body injury in the second period of Game 3 in this building, could be nothing more than a cheerleader in Game 6. But his team rallied around him and forced a Game 7, which will be played at Arena on Tuesday.
Now, the question is, will the Coyotes have their captain for their biggest game in years?
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett is hopeful that Doan, who has been with the organization since 1995 when they were still the Winnipeg Jets, will be able to return on Tuesday. But they're not about to risk the captain's health.
"We'll continue to monitor him day-by-day," Tippett said. "The prognosis is still the same. His energy and enthusiasm for the game is top-notch, it's just that right now he couldn't function in a game. With two more days, he'll push it farther along. He'll get treatments and we'll make a game-time decision then."
Phoenix players raved about Doan's enthusiasm before the game and in between periods, when he did his part to make sure everyone was focusing on the task at hand. And with Game 7 another two days away, the Coyotes sure hope to have Doan back in the lineup.
"That'd certainly be sweet," said defenseman Mathieu Schneider, who scored a power-play goal early in the second period. "He was present all night. He was in the room in between periods, talking to the guys and keeping everyone focused. Just a tremendous leader -- one of the best leaders I've ever been fortunate enough to play with. He's another great captain in this League."
One that will be tough to keep out of the lineup if he feels he's ready to go. Obviously, team doctors will ultimately determine whether or not Doan attempts to help the franchise advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1987.
"I know he's close … but we have to be smart about it, not just let the enthusiasm rule over the function of the player," Tippett said.
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL
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