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Shane Doan believes Coyotes can take advantage of NHL’s 24-team playoff

Shane Doan #19 of the Arizona Coyotes warms up before the NHL game against the Minnesota Wild at Gila River Arena on April 8, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With the NHL’s 24-team playoff format, the Arizona Coyotes will have a shot to play for the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2012.

Former Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports Thursday that the team’s best-of-five play-in series could be what the team needs to get the team going in the right direction again.

“It goes back to that mental mindset of once things start going against you, it’s hard to have that ability to get over that hump, but you’re just given a second lifeline,” Doan said.

“I know it’s not the ‘playoffs‘ playoffs to be in, but it is the playoffs. You’re playing for a chance to move on to play for the Stanley Cup.”

When the NHL season resumes, the Coyotes will play the Nashville Predators in a best-of-five series to advance.

During the 2012 playoffs, Arizona took down the Nashville Predators 4-1 in the Western conference semi-finals to advance to the Western Conference Finals, but ultimately lost the series to the Los Angeles Kings 1-4.

As the former captain, Doan knows what it takes to reach the level that the team achieved in 2012.

“Success is hard to come by and it seems to build on itself,” Doan said. “You get on the wrong side of some negative energy, and it seems to pile up against you, and you’re given a five game series where maybe you can get it going in the right direction again.”

During the first half of the season, the Coyotes looked primed, but that momentum fell off in the second half. The month of January featured a streak where the team lost 7 of 8 games and quickly dropped in the Pacific standings.

Doan said he hopes the Coyotes can take advantage of the so-called second chance. He said both Nashville and Arizona have great talent. During the regular season, the Coyotes split the two meetings with Nashville, winning at home 5-2 and losing on the road 3-2.

For the Coyotes, Doan thinks they’re in a solid position with the goaltending duo of Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper. He also noted that solid coaching from Rick Tocchet’s staff, strong players up front and Oliver Ekman-Larsson will also be key.

“They’ve got a chance. It’s just can you take advantage of it? It’s going to be big.”

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