Doan enjoying tight Western Conference race

Mar 11, 2011, 6:52 PM | Updated: 7:52 pm

Despite the drama surrounding the potential sale of the team, Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan acknowledges that the team’s confidence level is high as they climb the Western Conference standings and look forward to the playoffs.

“We get so much confidence from our goaltender and it’s amazing how that works,” Doan said on Sports 620 KTAR’s Doug and Wolf Friday morning. “When [Ilya Bryzgalov] is good we think we can beat anybody and he can be that good.”

Coming off a 3-0 victory over the Calgary Flames Thursday night, in which Bryzgalov made 39 saves and completed his sixth shutout of the season, the Coyotes are tied for fourth place in the Western Conference. They hope that their best hockey is yet to come.

“The playoffs pretty much have started for us now,” Doan said. “It’s going to be so much fun going right down to the end.”

Only five points separate the Coyotes from the second seed and home ice advantage with less than a month left in the season.

Next up is an important game against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. The Ducks are five spots below the Coyotes in the standings but only four points back.

“[This] is a huge game,” Doan said. “They’ve got either one or two games in hand on us, so we [have] got to make sure we take care of business.”

In a conference where the competition is so tight, Doan admitted that it’s difficult not to watch the scoreboards and cheer on teams who will benefit the Coyotes in the long run.

“My son and I watch every night,” Doan said. “We’re yelling at teams. We’re the biggest fans for some teams. ‘Come on they’ve got to win this one tonight!'”

As the team captain, Doan also knows to give credit where credit is due and he sees a lot of positive performance coming out of the young guys on the team. Rookie right winger Brett MacLean, who was recalled from the team’s AHL affiliate a week ago, made his mark against the Flames on Thursday by scoring his second NHL goal and the team’s first of the night.

“Our young guys are playing phenomenal right now, which has been a huge shot in the arm for us,” Doan said. “When those guys are playing good it takes the pressure off of everyone else.”

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Doan enjoying tight Western Conference race